Jailed: West Ham dealer who ran county drugs line on his own

Armand Mpita, 28, of Manor Road, West Ham

Armand Mpita, 28, of Manor Road, West Ham was jailed for three years and seven months and given a serious crime prevention order. - Credit: Essex Police

A cocaine and heroin dealer from West Ham who ran a county drugs line by himself has been jailed.

Armand Mpita, of Manor Road, was identified by officers investigating the Khan drugs line in Chelmsford between July last year and February, when he was arrested.

The 28-year-old was charged with three counts of supplying heroin and four counts of supplying crack cocaine.

Mpita initially denied the offences but changed his pleas to guilty at Ipswich Crown Court on May 18.

He was sentenced to a total of three years and seven months in jail.

Investigating officer Pc Ellie Jack said: “County lines drugs gangs traditionally have a network of runners, who operate out of London and sell drugs in towns and cities outside of the capital. 

“Those in charge tend to not get directly involved and recruit others to organise drug deals.

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“Unusually, Mpita operated alone, taking orders on his own phone and then going into Essex to sell the drugs.”

The judge also granted a serious crime prevention order (SCPO), which lasts for five years from Mpita’s release from prison.

It restricts Mpita from owning or regularly using more than one mobile phone and SIM card.

He must also inform police of any password or PIN lock and not allow anyone else to use any of his communication devices.

Essex Police says this was the first case in which its serious violence unit had applied for a SCPO.

Assistant Ch Con Andy Prophet said: “This is just one example of how we use the powers available to us to restrict drug dealers such as Mpita from continuing their criminal activity.

“We’re committed to keeping people safe from the harm caused by drugs gangs and dealers, and protecting vulnerable people and children who are exploited and groomed by these criminals. 

“Every day our officers are targeting offenders and dismantling drugs lines, and information from the public is vital in helping us do that.

“If you have information about drug dealing in your neighbourhood, or are worried someone is being groomed or exploited, please tell us."