County lines drug dealer jailed for eight years – East Sussex
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A man has been jailed for eight years after he was caught transporting drugs from London to Brighton via 14-year-old girl in late 2019.
It follows a complex investigation conducted by British Transport Police (BTP) detectives.
Michael Ajanaku, 25, and of HMP Rochester, Medway, appeared at Lewes Crown Court on 29 March 2021 where he pleaded not guilty to two counts of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.
On Tuesday 31 August 2021, a jury returned guilty verdicts for both offences and a judge sentenced him to eight years in prison for each, to be served concurrently.
During a joint operation alongside BTP at Brighton railway station on 18 September 2019, Sussex Police officers became aware of a young girl attempting to avoid the metal detection arch as she passed through the station.
The court heard how officers conducted welfare checks on the young girl, who was wearing dirty clothes and had travelled from London on the train.
As officers engaged with the her, a man called her phone and asked where she was – the officer told him they were in Brighton station and he said he would come to their location before hanging up.
The young girl admitted to being in possession of cocaine and, upon searching her, officers discovered 35 wraps of Class A drugs – 25 wraps were identified as heroin and 10 as cocaine. She was also in possession of £80 in cash.
A short time after she was conveyed to police custody, Ajanaku arrived at the railway station and approached station staff asking them about a friend’s phone that he was told was at that location. Plain-clothed officers overheard this and engaged with him.
The officers believed that Ajanaku was the man who had called the young girl’s phone and placed him under arrest as they suspected he was the intended recipient of the drugs carried by the girl.
Two mobile phones and three SIM cards were seized from Ajanaku after his arrest.
Downloads of Ajanaku’s phones were examined and analysed alongside information retrieved from the young girl’s phone. This provided sufficient evidence for Ajanaku to be charged with being concerned in the supply of heroin and crack cocaine.
There was also evidence of his contact with the 14-year-old girl on the day she was found in possession of the drugs, including eight phone calls between the two.
A thorough investigation was launched into Ajanaku’s previous offending history that related to being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.
It was successfully demonstrated in court that Ajanaku had a propensity to this kind of offending activity.
The court heard that he was on license when he was arrested, only one month after his release for a similar offence committed in Kent.
No charges were brought in the case of the 14-year-old girl and she was subsequently safeguarded by social services.
Investigating officer in the case, Detective Constable Andy Humes, said: “This was an unusual case given the lack of tangible evidence against Ajanaku.
“The court were told he was not found in possession of any controlled substances, and that there were no messages on his phones that explicitly linked him to the young girl or being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.
“However, by analysing the girl’s phone and its data, alongside that of Ajanaku’s phones, the prosecution was able to show the court that his explanation of events did not ring true.
“This was a great example of teamwork between BTP and Sussex Police, resulting in someone who seeks to exploit vulnerable people ending up behind bars, and those who need safeguarding receiving support.
“If you’re travelling on the network and see something that doesn’t look right – text us on 61016 or call us on 0800 40 50 40. In an emergency, always dial 999.”