A drug dealer responsible for the sale of £1 million of Class A drugs in Basingstoke has been jailed for more than a decade.

Tyrone Kelvin Potter, who was known by the street name Nemo, was one of the leading members of a cartel that ran in the town since 2018.

It operated for almost three years, including during the Covid pandemic, and used vulnerable drug addicts that lived in Basingstoke to act as a barrier to police investigations.

Hampshire Constabulary started a thorough investigation into the Basingstoke drugs scene after Taylor Williams was murdered in the town in August 2019 - and have seen several people appear before the courts in the last six months.

Potter was jailed for 11 and a half years at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday afternoon.

Sentencing the 25-year-old, His Honour Judge Melville QC said: "You clearly come into a leading role in relation to the Nemo line.

"This is an operation that went on for very nearly three years and at least 10 kilograms had been sold by the Nemo line in that period."

It comes after Ahmed Abdullah and Antonio Abayomi, who ran the Monster and Bestie lines in the town, were jailed for nine and a half years and seven and a half years respectively at an earlier hearing.

The cartel was formed to ensure that there was always a supply of illicit drugs in Basingstoke, and would share a supplier as well as runners, dealers cars, phones and safe houses.

They would also take advantage of vulnerable residents, prosecutor Mark Ruffell told the court, by 'cuckooing' their houses as safe places to deal drugs and house runners.

Potter, who lives in Earley, Reading, but is originally from Kingston, was arrested at a property in Sapley Lane, Overton on November 22, 2020.

The drug network ran by using a mobile phone, known as the 'county line', to send group messages to sometimes hundreds of contacts advertising that drugs are for sale.

Potter recruited individuals to operate the phone line for him, as well as operating it himself, and then would stock up runners to meet the buyers and make the exchange.

"Tyrone Potter is the 19th person to be investigated by Hampshire Constabulary and prosecuted for these offences," Mr Ruffell said in court. 

"This case in particular concerns the Nemo drug line and its operation in 2018, 2019 and 2020, and to a lesser degree his involvement with the JoJo drug line in 2020.

"It follows an extensive investigation into deeply entrenched drugs line in Basingstoke."

"They operated on an almost daily basis from 1st January 2018.

"The organisers, Tyrone Potter, Ahmed Abdullah and Antonio Abayomi were present in Basingstoke on most days that each drug line was operated. Potter had links to Kingston and Reading.

"The evidence suggests that a cartel operated perhaps intermittently between the drugs lines.

"The cartel also sought to limit street level violence and rivalry.

"Runners would appear to run for different lines if their main dealer did not have drugs to supply.

"These three drugs lines were seen to rotate between the same safe houses."

In mitigation, defence solicitor Stephen Akinsanya said that Potter was "low hanging fruit" and that there were people of a higher rank that also had control of the Nemo line.

Potter decided not to name them for fear of retribution against him and his family, he told the court.

"He is a young man of 25 and has to be looked at in the context of their own circumstances.

"A young boy who at the age of 12 grows up in care, having never met his own father, a mother who was addicted to Class A drugs, with mental health problems. A mother with whom he could form no proper relationship.

"By the age of 12 he himself is placed in care leading a chaotic life as a young teenager he begins sporadic periods of employments."

He eventually developed an addiction to Class B and later A drugs, and became involved in county lines dealing.

Judge Melville sentenced him to 11 and a half years in prison, of which Potter will serve at least two thirds before becoming eligibile for release on licence.

A serious crime prevention order will restrict Potter's ability to use mobile phones on his release from prison, whilst an order was made to forfeit and destory the drugs and phones recovered.

He must also pay a victim surcharge.