London 'county lines' crack cocaine gang go on trial accused of targeting 'vulnerable' addicts in Portsmouth

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MEMBERS of an alleged drugs gang accused of targeting 'vulnerable’ people in the city while peddling crack cocaine and heroin in an operation worth up to £450,000 have gone on trial.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard the ‘county lines' gang from south London allegedly preyed on ‘vulnerable’ Portsmouth drug users in a network thought to operate on a scale of between £150,000 and £450,000.

Six defendants appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court accused of being involved in supplying heroin and crack cocaine in Portsmouth. Top: Devonte Sowell, Paris Gayle and Prince Adeshokan. Bottom: Robert Tomney, Jason Valvona and Tyreece Riggon.

Six defendants appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court accused of being involved in supplying heroin and crack cocaine in Portsmouth. Top: Devonte Sowell, Paris Gayle and Prince Adeshokan. Bottom: Robert Tomney, Jason Valvona and Tyreece Riggon.

Seven defendants in the dock face charges of conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine between November 2016 and April 2017.

Those from south London on trial included Prince Adeshokan, 20, Tyler Griffiths, 20, Tyreece Riggon, 18, Paris Gayle, 27 and Devonte Sowell, 20. Gayle faces an additional charge of acquiring criminal property of £7,650.

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Robert Tomney, 51, from Portsmouth, and Jason Valvona, 48, from Fareham, are the local men accused in the network. Another man Ben Mills, in his 20s from Portsmouth, was a defendant but has since died a drug related death.

Tyler Griffiths appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court

Tyler Griffiths appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court

Prosecutor David Richards said: ‘Some of the defendants are from south London - they are those principally behind the operation - while others have a lesser role.

‘Analysis of texts and calls shows all are connected to the conspiracy.

‘The principal defendant’s lived in south London but came to Portsmouth using themselves and local users to sell heroin and crack cocaine.

‘They used branded mobile phones to advertise drugs to get users to respond. These users were often vulnerable. The drugs supply (in Portsmouth) would be replenished by them returning to London.’

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He added: ‘The extent of the operation is demonstrated with potential dealing amounting to £150,000 to £450,000.’

The court was told gang leader Terrell King had already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. ‘He lies at the heart of the conspiracy, proving the conspiracy to sell heroin and crack cocaine existed,’ Mr Richards said.

He added: ‘Those from south London are the principal defendants, making this a county lines operation.’

The prosecutor told jurors how Gayle, King’s girlfriend, would put cash from the dealing into a Nationwide bank account she had in Portsmouth even though she lived in south London. ‘Money would be withdrawn from the account or transferred to another account,’ he said.

Adeshokan, of Lakehall Gardens, London; Griffiths, of Selsdon Park Road; Riggon, of Wisbeach Road; Gayle, of St Aubyn's Road, all of Croydon, deny the charges.

Tomney, of Basin Street, and Valvona, of Gosport Road, also deny the charges.

King, 24, of St Enoch Road, Bradford, awaits sentence.

(Proceeding)