Two drug dealers operating in South Cumbria have yesterday (23 Oct) been jailed for nearly five years combined.
Georgie Keating, 20, of Cromford Road, Liverpool and Kerry Mallett, 46 of Longway, Barrow in Furness both pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs – namely, heroin and crack cocaine on the first day of a trial at Preston Crown Court.
The court heard how the defendants were part of a Merseyside County Lines gang which targeted Barrow for drug dealing.
The pair were involved in a drug dealing line which sent group messages out to drug users in the area advertising drugs for sale. When they received responses, they would then arrange a time and a place to meet and buy the drugs.
During the month of May 2019 numerous group messages were sent to drug users in the Barrow area advertising heroin and crack cocaine for sale. The telephone line was referred to as the ‘A Line’. Messages such as “ON WITH 10/10 BOTH BEST IT TOWN” were sent to local users.
Evidence was put before the court about the system of County Lines. The A line would remain in Merseyside predominantly and receive calls from Barrow in Furness drug users in response to the advertisement message. Subsequent calls would be made to Kerry Mallett who acted as the street dealer or runner, getting the drugs to individuals in Barrow. This system occurred over a 22-day period in May 2019.
Keating was employed as a courier. His role was to collect the proceeds of dealing from Mallet and return them to members of the Organised Crime Group. He became involved on the 19 May 2019 – on which day evidence suggested he, along with the A Dealer Line, moved to Barrow in Furness.
The investigation came to a conclusion on the 21 May 2019 when police entered Mallet’s home address in Longway. There they found Mallet and Keating, along with nearly £2,500 cash was found along with cocaine. Keating was forensically linked to the money. In addition to this police found a ledger that was written by Mallet – this, in essence, was stock list of what drugs had been sold.
Police also recovered the A line and arrested the holder of this line. That individual was charged and has failed to answer his bail. He is now wanted by the police.
In her police interview, Mallett denied being involved in the supply of drugs, telling officers she was a heavy drug user and could never supply drugs herself as she would use them and get into trouble.
She told officers the notebook was for drug money she owed and not drug supply.
Keating told officers he owed £180 to a dealer and was told it would be wiped clean if he went to Cumbria and collected money – between £1,000 and £2,000 – and brought it back to Merseyside.
He told officers he was taken to the address in Barrow, sat in a room waiting for the money and then the police arrived.
Both Keating and Mallett admitted being concerned in the supply Class A drugs. They were sentenced today (21 Oct) at Preston Crown Court to two years months and two years and seven months respectively.
A spokesman for Cumbria Constabulary’s South Area Drugs Unit said: “County Lines drug dealing is a blight on our county and Cumbria Constabulary is committed to identifying and arresting those who come here to supply drugs and take advantage of vulnerable people.
“This operation was sophisticated and organised. However, officers were able to break it down and put evidence before the court which proved Mallett and Keating were involved in the supply of Class A drugs.
“This was a challenging investigation for the South Area Drugs Unit, however the officer in charge of the case worked extremely hard in readiness for a trial. It is a result of this determination that the suspects pleaded guilty on the first day.
“The sentences must act as a deterrent for others who are involved in County Lines drug dealing. If you are caught, prison is highly likely.
“Keating was an individual of good character. His involvement was for two days only and his role was to collect money. Mallet was the street runner acting under direction of others. Despite this role people must realise that once you enter into criminality such as this you will go to prison.”