A Hassocks man deemed to be the ‘organiser and leader’ of a ‘prolific, callous and brazen’ drug gang has been jailed, police have said.
Remy Douieb, 22, of Stanford Avenue, was sentenced to six years at Lewes Crown Court on Friday June 24, for his role in a heroin and crack cocaine conspiracy carried out by a Brighton drugs ring.
Police said the drugs supply chain came from North London, as did several of the conspirators.
Douieb was deemed to be the organiser and leader of the network and would hold ‘deal’ phones and direct runners to users to supply heroin and crack, officers said. The proceeds of that illegal trade would be paid into various bank accounts linked to him or the group.
A police spokesman said: “The Judge (Shani Barnes) referred to a robbery committed by Douieb in Reading, for which he has previously served a prison sentence, where he had attacked a seven-month pregnant woman who had complained to him about selling drugs outside her mother’s house in London.
“Judge Barnes said ‘During the attack you told that woman that you were a man with no morals. I sincerely hope you find some during this sentence’.”
Police said five other men were also jailed for their roles in the operation and another received a suspended sentence.
Judge Barnes sentenced the seven to a total of 26 years following an investigation by officers from the Organised Crime Investigation Team at Brighton Police Station.
All seven had pleaded guilty at previous hearings to conspiracy to supply drugs.
Damian George, 20, of South Park Drive, Ilford, Essex was sentenced to five years and eight months.
Police said he was Douieb’s right hand man, and oversaw resupplies to the drug ‘runners’. He was observed on one occasion wielding a large hunting knife during a resupply. When he was arrested on the A23 entering Brighton, he was found in possession of a black imitation hand gun, officers added.
Police said the video shows George outside an address the gang were using in Thames Close, Brighton, on November 12 last year. He is on the phone and is casually waving a large knife while talking to a contact.
Scott Collins, 37, of Terminus Road, Brighton was sentenced to four years and was regarded as a runner for the group.
Geoffrey Momoh, 24, of Hadley Grange, Harlow, Essex, was sentenced to three and a half years.
Dean Temple, 38, of Sillwood Street, Brighton, was sentenced to 28 months.
Sam Povall, 31, of no fixed address, was sentenced to 27 months.
Charlie Magrino, now 18 although 17 at the time of the offending, of Haringey, North London, was sentenced to two years suspended for two years.
Operation Cooden was a plain clothed operation that targeted heroin and crack cocaine dealers in the city.
A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “The operation ran from June to December 2015 and resulted in more than 50 arrests.
“This element of Operation Cooden, involving the seven, was part of a drug dealing network known locally as ‘Ricky’. Officers from OCIT gathered evidence of the groups’ involvement over a sustained period of time and arrested the group in early December 2015.
“During that time there were two heroin related deaths that were attributed to the ‘Ricky’ line, Dennis Walsh and Madeline Stokes.
“Judge Barnes told the men; ‘I cannot sentence you for the deaths of those poor people but I will name them and they will not be forgotten.
‘You were all heavily involved in this prolific, callous and brazen drug dealing which is not low level. You plied your filthy trade in front of children and families playing on the beach amongst other areas. I would not be doing my duty to the community if I did not pass severe custodial sentences’.
“After sentences were passed Judge Barnes awarded commendations to the OCIT team for what she described as ‘The hallmark of an excellent operation borne out in the guilty pleas of the defendants. All these defendants pleaded guilty at a very early stage because of the weight of evidence placed upon them by you. As the resident Judge and a local resident, I say thank you and commend this team. I don’t often commend but this operation is one that I am in awe of’.
Detective Sergeant Julian Deans, who was the deputy senior investigating officer said: “Operation Cooden was a successful operation that culminated in over 50 arrests of heroin dealers in this city. We worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service and colleagues in neighbouring forces and also with the support of the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit. Operations of this nature do not just happen. It takes hours and hours of painstaking work behind the scenes in the shadows to build a case of this nature.
“I am pleased to have been able to rid the city of this group. The likes of Douieb and George thought that they could just bring their knives and guns to protect their heroin business into this city and this was met head on by our team. We will not relent and we will continue to target every heroin dealer who thinks they have a chance of survival in this city.
“My thoughts also go out to every family that is affected by heroin. I have both the fortune and misfortune to witness both sides of the trade. I live a surreal life at times, where I witness drug dealers peddling their death on the streets of Brighton and then end up investigating the end product of that trade by investigating every heroin death. Those victims and families deserve the best response we can give as police officers. My team delivers that response and it serves to redouble our efforts every time we encounter the heartache that heroin brings.”
Police said Dennis Walsh, 48, died at an address in Chalky Road, Portslade on November 14 and Madeleine Stokes, 20, died at an address in Ovingdean on January 13 this year. Subsequent inquests confirmed that both had died from drug overdoses.
Officers added 43 other people were arrested and all pleaded guilty to offences including possession with intent to supply Class A and other conspiracies related to drugs supply.