A drug dealer who took over the home of a vulnerable man and used it as a base from which to deal has been jailed for two years.
Karl Wickham- Downes was arrested after officers from Operation Raptor, a team set up to detect and deter drug dealing gangs, spotted him leaving the property in Harlow on August 9, 2016.
The 26-year-old attempted to run from officers but was stopped and searched in a nearby alleyway.
Officers discovered a plastic bag containing 112 wraps of class A drugs – 84 containing crack cocaine and 28 containing heroin.
Wickham-Downes of Holt Close, Chigwell was charged with possession with intent to supply heroin and possession with intent to supply crack cocaine.
He pleaded guilty to both offences at Chelmsford Crown Court and was sentenced at the same court on September 29, 2016.
Wickham-Downes was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for each offence to run concurrently.
Operation Raptor teams have been set up in the North, West and South Local Policing Areas to detect and dismantle gangs who travel to Essex to deal drugs and cause violence.
Pc Jack Etheridge from the Operation Raptor West team said: “Drugs wreck and ruin lives and we will use a variety of tactics to bring to justice those who carry them.
“Many people don’t realise that drug dealing gangs exploit and prey on the vulnerable in our communities – taking over their homes as a base from which to deal. As well as enforcement activity, Operation Raptor is about working with our partner agencies who can offer support for those affected by gang criminality.”
You can follow the work of the team on Twitter @OpRaptorWest