Crack cocaine pusher offers to help police catch city drugs boss
PUBLISHED: 15:47 10 April 2019 | UPDATED: 07:56 11 April 2019
A Norwich drug runner who allowed dealers to take control of his flat has offered to help police track down the boss of one of the city's county lines.
Donovan Gurlay, 52, was snared by undercover police as part of the largest operation of its type in the county – Operation Granary.
Between November 2017 and April 2018 an undercover officer, known as Tommo, infiltrated various county line groups active in the city. One operated under the name Mylo.
Norwich Crown Court heard on Wednesday April 10 how Gurlay had allowed his Wellington Green flat to be taken over by the group, and he was filmed selling £20 worth of crack to Tommo on February 15, 2018.
Gurlay admitted supplying crack cocaine on March 18, the day he was due to stand trial.
“He has allowed his address to be used for the operation and has personally gone out and dealt drugs to Tommo,” said prosecutor Chris Youell.
“When he was arrested there was drugs in the property and it is clear from phone evidence Mr Gurlay received calls from the Mylo number in the day in question, directing him to make a deal with Tommo.
“When police went to his address there was evidence it was still being used as a staging post. There were drugs and cash along with a lock knife in the living room behind a sofa and another in the kitchen.
“It would appear Mr Gurlay was being used by the network since they took over his address, and he was knowingly carrying out drug transactions on their behalf. There were clearly other people pulling the strings and he was taking the risk of going out on the streets to deal.”
Gurlay has 36 convictions for 107 offences dating back to the 1980s, the court heard.
Tahir Ali, in mitigation for Gurlay, said he had “befriended” a man named Mylo on the premise who would dogsit for him.
“Softly, softly, Mylo took control of his property and exercised power over Mr Gurlay where he felt intimidated and powerless to do anything to stop him,” said Mr Ali.
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“He is unfortunate that he found himself mixed up with the characters that he befriended but certainly Mr Gurlay, if you look past the bravado, is very a vulnerable man, a cannabis user of some 30 years. These are factors which attracted him to the likes of Mylo.
“While Mr Gurlay has been in custody he has warned me of threats he has received from Mylo’s associates, which he has reported to police. He also wants me to express in open court that he is willing to support the police in providing additional information which could lead to his arrest.
“This is somebody who really is trying to turn his life around.”
Jailing Gurlay for three years, Judge Andrew Shaw told him: “There is nary a week at this court centre where at least one of the judges doesn’t hear a case involving the sale of Class A drugs.
“It is an evil trade, it ruins lives and leaves nothing but misery in its wake.
“Those selling this pernicious and poisonous commodity are not exempt from that misery. The lives of you and your family have been blighted.
“Having spent your life in and out of prison your life becomes lawless and loveless, and often lonely. Your chaotic lifestyle has led to three of your nine children being adopted.
“Your life could properly be described up until this point as a selfish one where you prioritise your own needs and desires above others.
“I hope those days are behind you.”