Five people have appeared in court (Friday, 12 April) after undercover officers gathered evidence of county lines drug dealing in Guildford.
Theo Beckford, 20, of no fixed address, Farshad Ibrahimi, 24, of North Circular Road, Neasden, London, Lee Martin Jones, 54, of Chaucer Court, Guildford, Preeti Patel, 45, of Bridge Street, Guildford and Lucia Zaccarini, 23, of Armour Close, Islington, London appeared at Guildford Crown Court for sentencing on Friday, 12 April 2019.
On Tuesday, 10 July 2018, CCTV operators witnessed a man, later identified as Theo Beckford, walking a dog near the Electric Theatre. He was seen to exchange a small white item with another man, who gave Beckford something in return. Immediately afterwards, Beckford repeated the exchange with another young man.
Due to repeated sightings of drug deals a proactive intelligence operation was set up, focused on the address of Preeti Patel in Bridge Street, Guildford, which officers believed was being used as a base for drug dealing.
Number plate recognition work shows that Jones travelled to North London on the morning of Wednesday, 3 October, before returning with Ibrahimi, Beckford and Zaccarini, who had been dropped off in London the previous day. Later that day, Beckford and Ibrahimi were seen walking towards the flat, accompanied by Jones and Zaccarini. The hired vehicle was parked nearby.
Over the following weeks, covert officers witnessed further deals between the gang, including exchanges with vulnerable local homeless people. A warrant under Section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act was granted for Patel’s property, where officers located Beckford, Jones, Ibrahimi and Zaccarini. The four were arrested for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. Patel was not at the location at the time of the warrant, but she too was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
On the kitchen worktop, officers found 145 wraps of crack cocaine and heroin, a pile of more than 300 white rocks, which tested positive as crack cocaine, and a lump of brown substance wrapped in cling film, which tested positive for heroin. Drug preparation materials including cling film, strips of black plastic and scales were also found. A mobile phone, on charge in the kitchen, had recently sent a message to 500 contacts suggesting drugs were available to purchase.
More wraps were found scattered across the bed and windowsill of the bedroom, plus a number of other mobile phones which constantly rang while officers conducted the search.
Beckford, Ibrahimi, Jones and Zaccarini and Patel were charged with being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin. Patel was further charged for permitting the use of premises for supply of crack cocaine and heroin.
In court on Friday (12 April), the judge sentenced the gang to the following:
- Theo Beckford – 32 months
- Farshad Ibrahimi – 42 months
- Preeti Patel – 9 months, suspended for 18 months
- Lee Martin Jones – conditional discharge
- Lucia Zaccarini - two years, suspended for two years, and 200 hours of unpaid work
Investigating officer, PC Simon Laidlaw, said: “Drug dealing is a blight on our communities and we’re pleased four drug dealers are now off the streets. Our efforts to disrupt the supply of drugs in our county relies on information from both intelligence operations and members of the public coming forward with reports.
“If you have information about drug dealing in your local community, please let us know. Your information, no matter how small or insignificant you think it might be, helps us build a bigger picture and tackle this abhorrent crime taking place brazenly across our county.”
If you have information about suspected drug dealing or crime in your area, please either contact Surrey Police via www.surrey.police.uk or by calling 101.
If you don’t want to speak to police, you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. They never ask your name or trace your call and you could earn yourself a reward.
What are the signs of potential drug dealing?
- Lots of visitors, who don’t stay very long, arriving at all times of the day and night
- People waiting in cars outside particular properties exchanging small packets or cash
- Lots of visitors bringing items such as T.V's or bikes but leaving empty handed
- Lone/vulnerable neighbours suddenly having groups of young men living at their address.
What we want to know
- Time, date and place
- Vehicle registrations and the make, model and colour
- Descriptions of people and details of what they were doing
- Direction they travelling to and from
- How many times you have seen them – is it always at the same time of day?
Don’t put yourself at risk while gathering this information. Please always pass the information to the police and do not confront or approach suspected drug dealers.