Pair convicted over 'Ben and Jerry' county line drug dealing in Brighton
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Two people who ran a county lines drug operation in Brighton known as the ‘Ben and Jerry’ line have been convicted.
Ryell Cummings, 28, of Pigott Street in London, and Courtney Leech, 24, of Lambert Road in London, both pleaded guilty to multiple Class A drug charges after being spotted by officers carrying out a drug deal in Brighton.
On October 8, 2019, officers from Brighton’s Community Investigation Team saw the occupants of a BMW carrying out a drug deal in Little Preston Street.
They were stopped on nearby Kings Road and the driver, Leech, was detained and searched.
Officers uncovered 106 wraps of crack cocaine and 65 wraps of heroin, with a total street value of £1,700.
A mobile phone was also recovered from the vehicle and identified as being the ‘Ben and Jerry’ county line.
County lines drug dealing is when criminals from large urban areas, such as London, deal drugs in smaller areas across county borders, such as Brighton. Drug users contact them through specific phone numbers.
The practice is typified by violence and exploitation of vulnerable people and children.
Leech was released on conditional bail, but on November 15, 2019, roads policing officers stopped her once again in a vehicle in Dyke Road, with Cummings found in the front seat.
The car was searched and 300 wraps of crack cocaine and 169 wraps of heroin were found in a carrier bag hidden under the dashboard. The drugs had a total street value of £4,690.
Another mobile phone linked to the ‘Ben and Jerry’ line was also found.
A wider investigation found Leech and Cummings played significant roles in managing and supervising the drug line.
Both were charged with possession with intent to supply heroin and crack cocaine and possession of cannabis and pleaded guilty at Hove Crown Court on April 20, 2022.
Cummings was sentenced to five years in prison for both charges of possession with intent to supply, to run concurrently.
Leech will be sentenced on June 17.
Detective Inspector Dee Wells, from Brighton and Hove’s Community Investigation Team, said: “The illegal drug trade has a significant impact on public safety in our city, not just through the spread of harmful substances but also as a result of the violence and exploitation that goes hand in hand with these crimes.
“We will continue to work round the clock to target those who supply drugs and spread harm in our communities, while working with our partners to tackle the underlying issues around the use of illegal substances.
“This was a long and complex investigation that has taken two dangerous offenders, and a large quantity of harmful substances, off the streets.”