County lines drug dealer caught by police after being linked to phone

Sam Fearn, 19, of Genesta Drive, Thurston, near Bury St Edmunds was given a suspended sentence at Ipswich Crown Court

Rodney Addo appeared at Ipswich Crown Court via prison video link - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A man running a drugs line selling crack cocaine and heroin in Colchester was caught after police linked him to a mobile phone, a court heard. 

Rodney Addo, 41, was running the "Shanks" line and sent thousands of marketing messages to drug users offering deals on crack cocaine and heroin, Ipswich Crown Court heard. 

When a police officer was reviewing the phone of a class A drug user, he came across two incoming messages advertising drugs for sale, Donal Lawler, prosecuting, told the court. 

The number was active from July 2020, and when phone records were analysed, it was revealed 7,295 messages had been sent over 11 months. 

Police linked that number to Addo and CCTV footage showed him regularly topping up the phone at a shop near his home in London between August 2020 and July 2021, Mr Lawler said. 

Addo's personal phone was also co-located with the drugs phone on a number of occasions, the court heard. 

Police arrested Addo on 14 September 2021, and a search of his home was undertaken along with another address. 

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Officers seized £3,000 in cash, a Nokia phone and a small amount of cannabis, which he pleaded guilty to possessing at the magistrates' court, the court heard. 

Mr Lawler said: "He was dealing over a considerable period of time, with thousands of messages sent to 160 users."

Addo, who has 10 previous convictions for 35 offences, gave a "no comment" interview to police. 

Addo, of Digby Road, London, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday via prison video link having previously pleaded guilty to two charges of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs. 

David Langwallner, mitigating, said Addo lost his source of income when the Covid-19 pandemic hit and got into debt. 

Mr Langwallner said Addo "relapsed into a life of crime", and was "doing the bidding of Albanian overlords". 

Recorder Douglas Edwards QC adjourned sentence to allow a basis of plea to be uploaded by the defence and looked over by prosecutors. 

Addo is now expected to be sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court on March 31. 

He was remanded in custody by Recorder Edwards until that date.