A man from London is the first to be convicted for County Lines drug dealing in Norfolk under modern slavery laws.
Nathan Hamilton, aged 29 and of Mulberry Street in London, pleaded guilty to arranging the travel of another person with a view to exploitation, along with two counts of conspiring to supply crack cocaine and heroin, at Norwich Crown Court today (Wednesday 10 July 2019).
Hamilton appeared in court alongside Shaun Ellis, aged 26 and of no fixed address, who pleaded guilty to conspiring crack cocaine and heroin.
The court heard how Ellis was responsible for running the ‘Chase’ dealer line, supplying crack cocaine and heroin in Great Yarmouth, whilst serving a custodial sentence in HMP Wayland for other matters.
Ellis abused the prison’s communications system, which is meant to prepare prisoners for release, on a daily basis to call Hamilton, who he had employed in a managerial role. During these calls Ellis would apply pressure and aggression on those involved in the running of the County Line and to ensure the operation was uninterrupted.
Officers from the Great Yarmouth Neighbourhood Policing Team tracked Ellis to the top of the County Line following the arrest of Hamilton in Great Yarmouth on Thursday 11 October 2018. Officers stopped a VW Polo on Fullers Hill and the driver was identified as Nathan Hamilton. His passenger in the car was Blaire Carpenter-Angol, aged 27 and from London.
Officers seized four mobile phones and arrested both the men on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs into Great Yarmouth. Whilst in police custody officers grew suspicious that Carpenter-Angol was secreting drugs within his bowel and he was taken to the James Paget Hospital where two packages, containing almost 600 wraps of crack cocaine and heroin were recovered.
Carpenter-Angol was later charged with conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin and is currently awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing.
Further investigations revealed that Hamilton had been driving two boys, aged 15 and 16, to and from London and Great Yarmouth to deal Class A drugs in September and October 2018.
Officers identified the boys and found them to be immature and vulnerable and both have since been identified as victims of modern slavery.
Hamilton and Ellis pleaded guilty at Norwich Crown Court whilst on trial for the offences and are due to be sentenced on Monday 16 September.
Sergeant Tony Hogan said: “Today’s guilty plea from Hamilton and Ellis is the culmination of a 12 month investigation into an organised crime group who exploited vulnerable people for their own financial gain. This is the perfect example of how a County Line operates and it is the first case in Norfolk where we have secured a prosecution under modern slavery laws. Officers in Norfolk not only remain committed to targeting those who supply Class A drugs but also to using the full force of the law available to us to stop those responsible.”
Chief Superintendent Dave Marshall added: “This is the first conviction of its kind in Norfolk and East Anglia as a whole. The use of modern slavery legislation is an important aspect of targeting those criminal networks who exploit vulnerable children and adults within communities for their own financial gain. Today’s conviction sends a clear message that we will utilise all legislation available to us nationally to stop County Lines drug dealing and pursue offenders under Gravity.”