Convicted East Sussex drug dealers ordered to repay criminal gains
Four members of a convicted ‘County Lines’ gang have been ordered to repay thousands gained from selling class A drugs in East Sussex, in addition to their initial sentences.
Following a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) confiscation hearing, Sam Rostam, Hasani James, Amber Verbrugge and Charlotte Storey were ordered to pay back nearly £4,000 or face extensions to their sentences, after previously being convicted of selling crack cocaine and heroin in Eastbourne.
At a Lewes Crown Court hearing on 5 February, the quartet were ordered to pay back the following:
- Sam Rostam, aged 25, of Milford Gardens, Wembley, was ordered to pay back £1,220. He was jailed in May 2019 for eight years for conspiracy to supply class A drugs and possession with intent to supply cannabis.
- Hasani James, aged 27, of Chaplin Road, Wembley, was ordered to pay back £190. He was jailed in May 2019 for five years for conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
- Amber Verbrugge, aged 28, of Toley Avenue, Wembley, was ordered to pay back £2,500. She was jailed for two years, suspended for two years, in May 2019 for conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
- Charlotte Storey, aged 26, of Kingswood Road, Watford, was ordered to pay back a nominal order of £1. She was jailed for two years, suspended for two years, in May 2019 for conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
The court directed that the sums must be paid within 28 days, or the group would face further prison terms. The judge also made it clear that if they should come into assets in the future, these could also be made available to satisfy the order’s outstanding benefit.
Between June 2017 and June 2018, the group, based in Wembley, had transported and sold large amounts of crack cocaine and heroin in Eastbourne, while also selling cannabis locally in London.
Following a SEROCU investigation, detectives found that Rostam and James had been running the operation, with James frequently travelling to the town and circulating a blanket text message to 30-100 numbers – the drugs line – informing that the substances were available for purchase.
Investigators also found that Verbrugge and Storey were involved in selling drugs in the seaside town, along with hiring rental vehicles and hotel rooms and transporting James to and from London.
Despite these offenders having already been convicted, we know that they made significant sums of money from their illicit activity and we will endeavour to recoup as much of this as possible.Detective Inspector Tom Bradshaw
Although the courts have ordered the group to pay back what is currently known to be available to them, we will continue our enquiries so that, if any more assets become available in the future, we will take them back to court.