Darren Snow, instructed by Alison Muir and Charlotte Winchester of MCP Solicitors represented the second defendant, Sebastian Arenas Valencia in this 7-week county lines trial, recently concluded at Norwich Crown Court before His Honour Judge Shaw. Defence Counsel from London and the local Norwich Bar worked closely together throughout the trial and the sentencing, which took two days. The case focused upon a county lines network known as the “Deano line” running a supply chain from East London to Great Yarmouth in Norfolk. The Norfolk Police investigation was part of a wide spread operation into drug supply in the county known as “Operation Gravity” which has led to over 100 convictions to date. In Operation Kimbell the Prosecution evidence suggested the “Deano” network had been running for over 12 months, supplying heroin and crack cocaine. The Prosecution produced over 100,000 pages of telephone data and cell site material as part of their case together with extensive covert surveillance of the network at work. Darren’s client was found to have been sent from London to Great Yarmouth to manage the local runners supplying class A drugs. Only 19 at the time, Darren’s client appears to have received little benefit from his involvement in the conspiracy despite his significant role – the nearest thing to extravagant living observed over weeks of covert surveillance of Arenas Valencia was a tendency to go to Greggs for breakfast. This case reflects a common theme of young men from London being sucked into this type of criminality and being sent off to distant towns to manage a drug supply chain for their masters back in London – often left carrying all the risk but for little reward.
Darren was also instructed to represent Jodie Burt, used by the network as a “runner”. Burt pleaded guilty in the early stages of the case and evidence was accepted by the Prosecution that Burt had only been supplying drugs on one day. Burt was the only defendant over the entire case sentenced on the basis of a lesser role in the conspiracy. With “County Lines” now attracting a lot of media interest the case was widely reported.