County lines dealer who set up drug business in Bury St Edmunds is jailed
- Credit: Suffolk police
A county lines drug dealer who set up a new business selling heroin and crack cocaine in Bury St Edmunds just days after being released from prison has been jailed.
Ipswich Crown Court heard how Fabien Joe, 26, was released from prison on April 6, 2020, after serving a three-year sentence for possession with intent to supply class A drugs.
But within days of his release, Joe, of Anselm Avenue, Bury St Edmunds, was sending messages to set up and organise the 'Josh' drug line, Stephen Spence, prosecuting, told the court.
Evidence on seized phones showed he was "trying to re-establish himself in county lines drug dealing", Mr Spence said.
Numerous bulk marketing messages were sent out to drug users between October 2020 and April 2021, the court heard.
Mr Spence said Joe played a leading role in the Josh line - which organised the flow of crack cocaine and heroin into Bury St Edmunds between April 2020 and April 2021.
Joe was arrested by Metropolitan Police officers in May 26 in Ilford and £1,205 in cash was seized along with two further phones and a lock knife.
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In police interview, Joe largely answered "no comment" to questions asked but said he saved the money up after receiving benefits.
Joe previously pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of heroin, crack cocaine, and being in possession of a bladed article before magistrates.
Greg Johnson, mitigating, said Joe owed money to drug dealers from his previous conviction which he had to pay back.
Mr Johnson said Joe also has a newborn son he has never seen.
"He is remorseful that he has gone about things the wrong way," Mr Johnson said.
Joe was allowed to read a letter to the judge in court in which he apologised for his actions and stressed he wanted to turn his life around.
Sentencing Joe on Wednesday, Judge David Pugh said: "Within a matter of days of being released from custody, you set up and organised what became known as the Josh line.
"That clearly, in my judgement, demonstrates elements of a leading role."
Joe was sentenced to a total of four years and 11 months in prison and will have to serve half before his release on licence.
DC Jared Fortune, of the serious crime disruption team, said: "I was delighted to hear in his letter to the judge that Mr Joe’s apprehension and subsequent punishment may be the very catalyst to turn him from being a law breaker and allow him to implement becoming a force for good.
"In light of this, I’d iterate to all those involved in organised drug supply that not only do you generate devastation in our communities, you create misery for yourselves when we undoubtedly catch you; it’s in your own interest to seek a lawful alternative.”