Heroin and crack cocaine dealers who exploited a 14-year-old boy in Gillingham have been jailed.
Kieran Appiah and Muhammed Khan-Brown’s offending began to unravel after Kent Police officers seized class A drugs and a phone from the boy in May 2020.
A careful review of data on the seized handset showed both men were using him to act as a runner on their behalf. This evidence led to officers visiting addresses where the offenders were staying and detaining them.
Both men were sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on Tuesday 30 November 2021 and will serve more than five years between them.
Kent Police’s investigation into the offending began on 26 May, when a proactive patrol noticed a teenage boy was supplying drugs in the Livingstone Road area.
The boy was stopped and found to be in possession of 38 wraps of crack cocaine and heroin, which were ready for sale on the streets.
A mobile phone was also seized and data from the device showed he had received 142 calls which were directing him to supply drugs.
Enforcement action was not taken against the boy, as it was clear that he was being exploited by organised criminals. Instead, officers worked with partner agencies to ensure he was supported and safeguarded from further harm.
With the boy safe, the County Lines and Gangs Team continued to scrutinise the call data which led to officers gaining an understanding of Appiah and Khan-Brown’s movements.
Appiah was arrested after officers visited a Gillingham home on Thursday 28 July 2020. The address belonged to a vulnerable adult but was being used by the offenders as a base to supply heroin and crack cocaine.
Appiah attempted to run from the scene but was detained and taken into custody. His personal phone number was also found to have sent several communications to the teenager.
Khan-Brown was arrested at his home address the following morning by the Metropolitan Police. Upon noticing the officers, he jumped out of a window and attempted to climb over the fence but was stopped from doing so by a constable.
A search of his address led to quantities of heroin and crack cocaine being located, alongside paraphernalia used to supply drugs.
While in custody, both men were charged for their roles in offending and remanded in custody by Kent Police ahead of a court hearing.
- Appiah, 21, from Streatham, admitted conspiring to supply heroin and crack cocaine and two counts of robbery. He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years’ imprisonment. The robbery took place in Hillyfields Park, Gillingham, on 5 October 2019 and led to a bike and a coat being stolen from different teenage boys.
- Khan-Brown, 19, from Streatham, admitted conspiring to supply heroin and crack cocaine, possessing heroin and crack cocaine with intent to supply and possessing criminal property, namely cash obtained from drug dealing. He was sentenced to a total of three years.
Detective Constable Mark Donovan, Kent Police’s investigating officer for the case, said: ‘These two offenders have shown they have no qualms about exploiting vulnerable people to make money.
‘Their offending was parasitic but thankfully the actions of our vigilant officers on the street helped us identify them and ensure that those being used were protected from further harm.
‘We will never stop patrolling the streets and looking for signs of drug dealing. When we come across evidence of offending, we will always use the full remit of our powers to put an offender before the court and ensure they face justice.’