County lines mum ran ‘selfish’ son’s drugs ring while he was in jail

·3-min read
Deborah Francis, centre, with sons Dominic and Kyle (Metropolitan Police )
Deborah Francis, centre, with sons Dominic and Kyle (Metropolitan Police )

A mother who ran her “incredibly selfish” son’s county lines drugs operation while he was on remand has been sentenced.

Building site manager Deborah Francis, 55, was recorded during prison phone calls to Dominic boasting how she’d hidden cocaine, heroin and cannabis before police raided their home in east London.

Deborah also revealed in pidgin English that she tasked his business undergraduate brother Kyle, 22, with meeting high-level dealers supplying the ‘000 line’ out of Newham to smaller UK towns and cities.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard Dominic, 31, was being held at HMP Pentonville and then Brixton on an unrelated matter.

Before being remanded, he had groomed a boy aged 14 and 16-year-old girl to courier drugs from London to Clacton and the South East. The younger child was described as a “valuable commodity” who worked for several syndicates and knew how to avoid detection.

At first, detectives heard Dominic on the phone ordering Kyle, studying at Canterbury University, to recruit other children. Call data was retrieved and used to find Kyle at an address in Kent.

Officers went to execute a warrant at construction site agent Deborah’s Victorian mid-terrace on Wolsey Avenue, East Ham but she lied about her availability for a search of the property.

Later, she admitted in a jail call to Dominic that she had discarded drugs and hidden cash before police managed to gain entry.

During the entire investigation, over 25 children were safeguarded and police seized five kilograms of Class A drugs, £90,000 in cash, a gold Rolex watch and diamond rings.

Deborah Francis lied to police to stop them raiding her Victorian mid-terrace on Wolsey Avenue, East Ham (Google Maps)
Deborah Francis lied to police to stop them raiding her Victorian mid-terrace on Wolsey Avenue, East Ham (Google Maps)

Detective Sergeant Daniel Jackson, who investigated the case, said: “I think Dominic’s younger brother Kyle was a good lad initially.

“I don’t think he wanted to come in on this and certainly Deborah was quite pleased he had been the good boy of the family.

“But Dominic has run a train through that. He is such an incredibly selfish individual he’s groomed his brother and mother.

“Believing he was in the clear, we heard Dominic on one call telling Kyle how stupid he was for getting caught by police.

“Deborah hates Dominic for it. She’s not a nice person but believed she was doing right by her boys. It’s shocking and despicable.”

Dominic and Kyle will be sentenced in July having admitted conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs, and Dominic a charge of child exploitation.

Deborah pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and racially aggravated harassment after calling a custody officer a “f***ing Nazi” and a “white bitch”. She was given an eight-month jail term, suspended for 15 months, 40 days’ community rehabilitation and has to pay £250 compensation.

Detective Inspector Esther Richardson, of the Metropolitan Police’s Modern Slavery and Child Exploitation Team, said: “This investigation has brought justice to three individuals who used the lives of young and vulnerable people for their own personal gain.

“We focused on rescuing these children who had no option but to do as they were told through fear of violence from those controlling them.

“Child exploitation causes violence in London and we do not tolerate the harm that comes with it.

“Dominic also implicated drug suppliers higher up the criminal chain which led to a further investigation into a separate crime group.

“This also resulted in the disruption of a drugs line that had been in existence for over 15 years.”

Three other men aged 22 to 36, from the Ilford area, are separately appearing in court.

Anyone with information about drug crime should call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.