Eight people have been sentenced after bringing drugs into West Sussex from London.
Officers said the men and women were arrested as part of a long-term police operation, in which West Sussex officers disrupted a ‘county lines’ group bringing drugs into the area.
All eight people have been convicted of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs, according to police.
Police said in May 2018 officers carrying out Operation Highwood executed a series of search warrants at addresses in Bognor Regis and London, seizing large quantities of crack cocaine, heroin, cash and mobile phones used to deal drugs – on what was known as the ‘ghost line’.
A 16-year-old boy from London, who was suspected of being trafficked into West Sussex in order to deliver drugs for the group, was referred to supporting agencies, according to police.
A Sussex Police spokesperson said, “After a series of separate trials, sentencing was completed at Portsmouth Crown Court on Monday, November 22.
“Daniel Olugbosun, 30, was given a total sentence of five years and six months, his brother Michael Olugbosun, 29, was given a Section 37 Hospital Order of detention under the Mental Health Act 1983 - both were from Blackfriars Road, London SE1 - and Amir Abrahams-Hodge, 26, of Bradgate Road, London SE6, was given a five years and four months sentence.
“Paul Penfold, 57, of Linden Road, Bognor; Gemma Best, 33, of High Street, Bognor; Darren Titus, 52, of Whyke Road, Chichester; and Matthew Kemp, 42 of Hawthorn Road, Bognor, were each given two years imprisonment, suspended for two years.
“Paula Reddings, 44, of Orchard Road, Chichester, was given a two-year community order.
“All defendants except Michael Olugbosun, who was unfit to plead but who was found to have committed the offence after a trial of the facts, pleaded guilty.”
Detective Sergeant Jason Vickers, of the West Sussex community investigations team, said, “We have teams of officers and investigators whose skills are being used to disrupt organised crime groups.
“This complex investigation, of a type often unseen by the local public, demonstrates our ability to act locally and follow up with warrants and drug seizures in London, working with colleagues in the Met to prevent crime in West Sussex.
“This operation is part of our continuing work, alongside colleagues from other forces and law enforcement agencies, to combat ‘county lines’ drug dealers who operate from London by operating special phone lines and using the homes of vulnerable people locally in order to use as a supply base.
“We recognise that drug dealing seen in the community increases the fear of crime and we will continue to seek to make this area a hostile place to commit crime.”