A Swansea “house husband” has been caught combining his domestic duties with working for a London-based organised crime group.
Kye Lewis was found to be operating a mobile phone for a gang of cocaine dealers based in the capital.
Swansea Crown Court heard that Lewis came to the attention of police when detectives in London investigating the operation of an organised crime group, or OCG, recovered a number of mobile phones.
Stephen Rees, prosecuting, said the phones were linked to a so-called county lines drug dealing network known as the Avon line which had been operating in Swansea for a number of years. From data on the phone the Met Police identified Lewis, and passed the information to colleagues in South Wales Police. Read more about how notorious county lines drugs gangs operate in Wales here.
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On April 20 this year, police in Swansea executed a search warrant at the defendant’s home. An iPhone was seized from the property, and Lewis told police the pin – when its contents were accessed and downloaded officers found messages relating to dealing. Lewis subsequently gave a “no comment” interview.
Kye Nathan Lewis, of Lon Claerwern, Morriston, Swansea, had previously pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of cocaine when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. He has previous convictions for offences including possession of cocaine, possession of cannabis, and handling stolen goods – namely a stolen police uniform.
County lines is when criminals from major cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, London and Birmingham expand their drug networks to other areas of the country. This activity brings violence, exploitation and abuse to rural communities.
The crime is so-called because a single telephone number is used to order drugs, operated from outside the area, across county lines.
County line networks are having a massive impact on rural counties. Vulnerable children and adults are being recruited in our large cities to transport cash and drugs all over the country. This keeps the true criminals behind it detached from the act and less likely to be detected or caught.
These gangs often set up a base in a rural area for a short time, taking over the home of a vulnerable person (also known as “cuckooing”). They then use adults and children to act as drug runners.
The increase in activity around county lines is also believed to have contributed to the rise in knife crime.
Andrew Evans, for Lewis, said the defendant had recently become a father for the third time, and a letter to the court on his behalf spoke of him as a “house husband”.
The advocate said: “The defendant allowed misuse of a substance which he felt was not an addiction to become an addiction, and that led him to becoming involved in its supply. He understands his behaviour will have a significant effect on those around him.”
Judge Catherine Richards said Lewis was running a phone for a London gang operating in the Swansea drugs market, and he must have known the kind of sentence that awaited him if her were caught. She told him Class A drugs destroy lives and communities.
Giving the defendant a 25% discount for his guilty plea the judge sentenced him to 40 months in prison. Lewis will serve up to half that period in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.