Grime artist Asco jailed for dealing heroin and crack over county lines
13 September 2019, 22:23 | Updated: 24 October 2019, 11:06
A rapper who made up to £1,500 a day dealing crack and heroin has been jailed for 12-and-a-half years.
Asco, real name Asfa Allen, 32, signed a record deal worth up to £1 million with Warner Bros last year and featured on freestyle sessions hosted by former Radio 1 DJ Tim Westwood.
He was the head of a criminal gang who dealt the illicit drugs from London to Colchester, Essex.
But Allen was arrested when police raided 15 properties across London and the home counties, seizing £25,000 in cash, around half a kilogram of heroin, expensive designer footwear and vehicles.
Asco was found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs between September 2017 and December last year following a trial.
His gang, Akwasi Kwateng, 24, Kai Lye, 28, and Donovan Corbett, 22, all from Hackney, Bradley Ashley-Faponle, 33, from Barking, and Denzel Nimoh, 20, from Coventry, have also been jailed following a trial at Wood Green Crown Court.
Sentencing, the judge told Allen: "You held and controlled the drugs line until your music career took off in the summer of 2018.
"I am satisfied that even when your music career took off, you still maintained a controlling interest in the drugs business.
"You plainly made a significant amount of money and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle funded, at least in part, by dealing drugs."
Prosecutor Roger Smart said Asco was involved in a "highly profitable, well-organised" plot to sell heroin and crack cocaine through three "county lines" drug routes from Hackney, east London, to Cambridge and Colchester.
Bulk texts would be sent to drug users, who would be sold £10 wraps, with the dealers operating with a 100% profit margin.
Asco was the head of the "Bobby line", which he boasted turned over £2,000 to £3,000 a day, netting him a £1,500 profit.
The court also heard that Allen took a back seat in the business after being signed, but still enjoyed the financial benefits of the illegal activity.
The rapper bought £19,500 worth of jewellery between July and December 2018 and complained of losing £50,000 worth of jewellery during a trip to Dubai.
Police seized designer clothing and shoes from his home in Reading and found almost £12,000 in cash at his girlfriend's home.
Kwateng, was jailed for seven years after he was found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
Corbett was jailed for nine years, Ashley-Faponle for nine years and nine months, and Nimoh for five years and seven months.
The judge adjourned sentencing for Lye pending inquiries into allegations he smuggled drugs and a mobile phone into the dock during the sentencing hearing.