Jailed: Romford drug dealer who managed ‘Frenchie’ county line and 18-year-old Barking runner caught with cocaine

Michael Lawal of Slaney Road, Romford has been jailed for more than six years. Picture: Essex Police

Michael Lawal of Slaney Road, Romford has been jailed for more than six years. Picture: Essex Police - Credit: Archant

A Romford drug dealer who supplied a notorious gang with heroin and crack cocaine has been jailed for more than six years.

Basildon Crown Court heard how Michael Lawal, 26, of Slaney Road was running a county line known as Frenchie, which involved supplying Class A drugs across Thurrock.

On three occasions in 2018, officers from the West Operation Raptor team stopped individuals on suspicion of drug dealing.

Each time the individuals, who were acting as runners for Lawal, were found with Class A drugs and phones linking them to Lawal.

On Thursday, December 6 in 2018, officers stopped C17 gang members Marcel Zawolski, 18, of Dell Road, Grays and Seweryn Siwak, 18, of Westrow Drive, Barking.

Siwak was found with 16 wraps of crack cocaine and jailed for 18 months, and Zawolski was found with 48 wraps of crack cocaine and heroin and was jailed for two years.

Following an investigation into the Frenchie drug line, officers executed warrants at Lawal's home on January 24 last year as well as an address in Tilbury which was linked to him.

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They recovered crack cocaine and cocaine worth around £2,000 and more than £1,000 in cash and various mobile phones linked to the Frenchie drug line.

Lawal was arrested and charged with two counts of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs, two counts of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs and driving while uninsured.

He was jailed for 80 months at Basildon Crown Court on Monday January 27.

Following the sentencing investigating officer Pc Rory Phillips of the West Operation Raptor team said: "Lawal employed a series of runners, including members of the C17 gang, to supply Class A drugs across the Thurrock area.

"As soon as any of his runners were arrested, he simply recruited someone else to keep his drug supply line going.

"But he did not bank on the fact that Operation Raptor were one step behind him, compiling the evidence we needed to ensure he stays behind bars for a significant time."

Since the West Operation Raptor team secured a gang injunction against the C17 gang in September 2018 they have made a total of 42 arrests.

In the last year 16 identified members of C17 has been prosecution for a range of offences including drug supply, robbery, possession of a knife and aggravated burglary.

Det Sgt Scott Fitzmaurice of the West Operation Raptor team said: "The C17 gang were responsible for a serious amount of violence, crime, disorder and drug-related offences across the Thurrock borough.

"The community were seriously suffering as a result of their behaviour and Operation Raptor were not prepared to let that continue.

"We continue to robustly enforce the gang injunction and will target anyone else who mistakenly believes they can come to our county to commit crime on our streets."

Essex Police set up Operation Raptor teams in the north, south and west of the county to tackle drug and gang-related crime.

If you have information about drug or gang-related crime in your community contact Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.