Three men have been jailed for dealing Class A drugs in Maidstone.
In July 2018, officers investigating ‘county line’ cocaine and heroin supply in the town identified a specific phone was being used to co-ordinate a number of drug dealers in the town.
Analysis of mobile phones seized following the arrest of the suspected street dealers showed texts from the phone relating to the marketing of available Class A drugs and arrangements for their delivery.
Enquiries into the phone led officers to retrieve evidence proving Reis Bhandal had purchased credit for it on several occasions between 24th June and 6th July.
Further investigation identified that Gavin Bond of Mote Road, Maidstone and Peace Alaka of The Grove, Gravesend were working for Bhandal in the co-ordination of the supply network. This included the delivery of drugs to dealers and providing them with access to an address in Maidstone.
Investigators also proved Bhandal had arranged a taxi to transport some of the dealers from his flat in Gravesend to Maidstone.
On 19th July officers went to Bhandal’s home address on Old Road West, Gravesend and arrested him on suspicion of drug dealing. Alaka, who was present at the address, was detained and a search of the premises led to the seizure of a phone without a SIM card. A damaged SIM card was also found on a window sill.
These were later shown to be the identified mobile phone and SIM card used by Bhandal in the co-ordination of his drug supply network.
On 31st July, Bond was also arrested.
All three were later charged in connection with drug dealing. They pleaded not guilty at Woolwich Crown Court and, on 9th October, Bhandal was convicted of two counts of being concerned in the supply of cocaine and two counts of being concerned in the supply of heroin. Alaka and Bond were both convicted of one count of being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and one count of being concerned in the supply of heroin.
On Friday 18th October at the same court, Bhandal and Alaka, both aged 19, were sentenced to six years and three years respectively in a Young Offender Institution. Bond, who's 35, was jailed for two years and three months.