BY YANN TEAR
The ringleader of a drugs gang which smuggled crack cocaine and heroin from London to Wiltshire has been sentenced to a 19-year jail term.
Linford Goode, 32, of Crosfield House, Mary Place, Notting Hill was previously found guilty of conspiracy to supply class-A drugs and possession of criminal property, after an eight-week trial at Isleworth Crown Crown Court.
He was one of six convicted of so-called county lines drug peddling, with gang members’ sentences totalling more than 56 years.
Another member of the gang was Sara Kokot, 31, of Cathnor Road, Hammersmith who was also previously found guilty of conspiracy to supply class-A drugs. She has been handed an eight-and-a-half-year prison term.
Goode ran his operation while still out on licence after being handed a 10-year jail term eight years ago for similar offences.
Also facing jail terms are Tiffany Smart, 27, from Swindon (eight years), Scott Cadder, 33, also from Swindon, (seven-and-a-half years), Shaun Smith, 30, of Bourne Way, Wiltshire, (six years) and Dean Black, 50, of Orchard Road, Wiltshire (seven years and eight months).
The case concerned the dealing of crack cocaine and heroin from London to Swindon and Marlborough, by a ‘county line’ drugs gang which operated between April and September 2018.
During the course of the conspiracy, the gang’s drugs line was contacted by more than 800 individual numbers.
The gang was headed by Goode. He and Kokot reaped the financial rewards of the trade in class-A drugs from London, while Smart and Cadder operated on the ground in Swindon. Black and Smith dealt to addicts in Marlborough.
In September, warrants were executed at addresses linked to Goode, Kokot, Smart and Black.
A phone was recovered from Goode’s address and messages on it pointed to it being a drugs line.
An estimated £20,000 cash was seized from Goode’s address, along with a Rolex watch worth £21,000.
Officers recovered evidence of drug preparation and a quantity of cocaine powder seized from Kokot’s address, and the drug MDMA was found at Smart’s property.
The court heard evidence of threats issued to enforce the demands of the gang’s leaders, who journeyed to and from Swindon in luxury cars and boasted of opening bottles of vintage Champagne.
The court also heard of the effects of heroin and crack cocaine addiction, leading the hundreds of addicts to lives of petty crime to fund their habit.
After an eight-week long trial, the jury unanimously convicted Goode and Kokot, the two London gang members, and later convicted Cadder and Smith, who had both turned to dealing to fund their own habits. Black and Smart admitted their involvement at an earlier stage.
Detective Constable Claire Gentles, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “This gang have been handed significant jail sentences, illustrating just how seriously the courts treat county lines offences.
“We know that drug dealing is closely linked with violence on our streets and we will deal robustly with those who seek to sell drugs and target vulnerable individuals within our communities for financial gain.
“This case highlights the benefits of collaborative working between police across force borders and is a particularly successful example of a trial involving the gang leaders in London and local members of the drug gang.”
Detective Inspector Paul Franklin, from Wiltshire Police, said: “This was a successful operation between Wiltshire Police and The Met along with the Crown Prosecution Service.
“County lines gangs from big cities are a real problem which is closer to home than some people might think.
Wiltshire may seem like a quiet, leafy county but the reality is that some young and vulnerable people living in our communities are being exploited by these gangs who get them to do their dirty work.
“Also, the people purchasing the drugs, who are often vulnerable themselves, regularly commit crime to fund their habit. “It’s a spiral we want to help them break.”