A PAIR of drug dealers have been jailed for more than 13 years for flooding Swindon with almost £100,000 of crack cocaine and heroin.

But Ali Dini and Jenner Araujo had to be sentenced in their absence at Swindon Crown Court – as they are both still on the run and the authorities have little idea where they are. Three other men have already been dealt with for their involvement in the conspiracy.

Londoner Dini, now 35, headed up the Santana drugs line. Over 14 months between February 2016 and March 2017 the operation peddled heroin and crack cocaine in Swindon.

The County Lines-style operation saw drugs being brought from the capital to be sold in Wiltshire. The gang sent out bulk advertising texts to addicts, used a Whitney Street home as a base from which to sell drugs and employed at least one child runner.

Police estimated the gang sold almost a kilo of drugs with a value of £95,450. The judge suggested that was a conservative estimate.

Prosecutor Simon Walters said it took detectives months to build a picture of the conspiracy.

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Dini and Araujo Picture: WILTSHIRE POLICE

The first to be arrested was Reagan Pires, who was stopped in early February 2016 in an alleyway near York Road. He had eight packages of heroin and eight of crack cocaine, along with two mobile phones and almost £300 cash. He was jailed last year for three years and four months.

Araujo, now 24 but just 20 at the time, was picked up on Gladstone Street in March 2016 with heroin, £200 cash and two mobile phones. Hidden in lead flashing nearby were more wraps of heroin and crack cocaine.

There was evidence Araujo had continued to work for the line. When a crack den on Whitney Street was raided in November drug wraps found at the house contained the man’s DNA. There was a one-in-a-billion chance the DNA belonged to another, the court heard.

Two other conspirators, Saedul Ali, then 15, and amputee Mohamed Abdi-Hassan, were arrested during 2016 after police found them with drugs and cash. Ali, who has since turned 18, was dealt with at the youth court and Abdi-Hassan, who stashed 47 drugs wraps in his false leg, was jailed for three years and 10 months.

Dini was the last to be arrested. He was picked up in London in March 2017. Phone evidence showed he had used the Santana line phone to call his Swindon-based partner, book taxis and make enquiries about houses.

Mr Walters said notwithstanding the November 2016 raid, the gang had sent out hundreds of messages over Christmas and New Year advertising heroin and crack to potential customers. His DNA was found on drug wraps sold by others lower down the chain.

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Pires, Hasan and Ali Picture: WILTSHIRE POLICE

Dini had also admitted a common assault on a taxi driver dating to December 9, 2018, when he approached the man as he fiddled with the glove box in his car and demanded “what do you have, what do you have?” In a tussle the driver’s phone dropped to the floor and was damaged.

Dini, of Eleanor Close, London, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs, common assault and criminal damage. Araujo, of Haydon Street, Swindon, denied the conspiracy but was found guilty at trial.

Julie Ball, for Dini, said the fact her client had been wrapping the drugs showed the low level of sophistication of the conspiracy. He was addicted to drink and drugs and had pre-existing links to Wiltshire through his partner, unlike in a traditional County Lines operation.

Mark Ashley, for Araujo, said the man had been working for higher-ups: “A busy runner, it seems on the evidence before the court, but very much being controlled by others.” His client had been a young man at the time and it was three years since the offences were committed.

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Swindon Crown Court

Sentencing Dini to seven years and two months imprisonment, Judge Jason Taylor QC said: “He was directing, organising, buying and selling on what I consider cumulatively to be a commercial scale.”

Araujo received six years and two months imprisonment.

Warrants were issued for Araujo and Dini’s arrest last summer.