A south London man was sentenced after an investigation running a phone line to distribute Class A drugs between London and Kent.
Enoch Odubanjo, from New Cross, was given a two-year prison sentence suspended for two years at Maidstone Crown Court on September 10, and ordered to wear an electronic tag for six months.
Odubanjo, 22, was previously found guilty of two counts of offering to supply a controlled Class A drug between September 2019 and March 2020.
The court heard that Odubanjo ran a county line called the ‘Fiver’ line – a phone number offering the sale of crack cocaine and heroin in the Chatham area in north Kent. He was also found in possession of a second drugs line number when he was arrested in March 2020.
The Met launched an investigation into the ‘Fiver’ line in late 2019 with intelligence from Kent Police, suspecting that the phone was run from south London.
The phone often sent messages in bulk, with one example reading: “Best of both back on 4 for 20. Fiver” – referring to heroin and crack.
Odubanjo was first arrested by Kent Police on December 3 2019 after being chased on foot after reports of a fight in Chatham. He gave a fake name to police and was found to have £405 in cash and eight wraps of heroin.
He was arrested on suspicion of affray and possession of a Class A drug and let go as police continued their enquiries.
Officers saw that the ‘Fiver’ line stopped being used after he was arrested. In less than two months from September 20 2019 and December 3 2019 more than 17,000 messages were sent to and from the phone.
The phone kept on getting calls coming in until December 15 2019, with buyers not realising the number was not working. The phone went off later that day.
The investigation continued into early 2020 and officers were able to establish that the ‘Fiver’ line was often working in or from a number of addresses in south London and one address in Chatham – which were all associated with Odubanjo. The ‘Fiver’ line also had regular communication with his mother and partner.
Odubanjo was circulated as ‘wanted’ for drugs supply and was stopped in Chatham on March 9 2020 after officers witnessed what they believed to be a drug deal. He was found in possession of two £10 notes and a ‘burner’ phone.
He gave a fake name but officers soon got his real name and discovered there was a warrant out for his arrest. He was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of controlled drugs.
Analysis of the phone and SIM card showed several bulk text messages had been sent out, with many referring to ‘the best of both’ ‘being on 24/7.’
During his police interview he gave a combination of ‘no comment’ answers as well as replies denying any wrongdoing. He said he did not know what the ‘Fiver’ drug line was and that he had no involvement in supplying crack cocaine and heroin. He did admit to giving false details to police.
He was charged on March 10 2020 and was convicted as above.
Detective Constable John Davis, the investigating officer from the South East Basic Command Unit, said: “Thanks to great partnership working with Kent Police, we were able to gather overwhelming evidence against Odubanjo being the line-runner for the ‘Fiver’ line, which the jury agreed with – despite Odubanjo’s denial of any wrongdoing. He tried his best to evade capture, providing false names and denying ownership of mobile phones, but it was not enough to fool us.
“Our enquiries showed he sent thousands of text messages to drug users over the course of six months and supplied them with a huge quantity of class A drugs. Drugs devastate communities and destroy lives, but Odubanjo did not care about this as long as he was making money.
“The public may believe that county lines does not have a wider impact on communities, but the consequences of this type of criminality should not be underestimated.
“For example, we see a significant amount of violence linked to county lines. That’s why disrupting the supply of drugs continues to form a central part of our work to tackle violence.
“However, we also need you to help us keep our communities safe and I would implore you to contact us, or the independent charity Crimestoppers, with any information you have regarding drug dealing or violent crime in your area.”