Drug dealer stabbed by gang who wanted to get victim’s contacts
A ruthless drugs lord is facing life behind bars after killing a teenager to get his hands on his county line business in the first case of its kind in the UK.
Gaille Bola, 22, stabbed Meschak Dos Santos Cornelio to death because he wanted the 18-year-old’s mobile phone which he used to sell cocaine and heroin.
Although the battered Nokia handset was so old it was practically worthless, its telephone number was a direct line to scores of drug addicts and a business worth hundreds of pounds a day.
A Daily Mail investigation has revealed that it is the first time anyone has been killed for a county line – a dedicated mobile phone line used to sell, distribute and buy drugs.
Meschak Dos Santos Cornelio (pictured), 18, was stabbed to death for the contacts on his mobile phone which he used to sell cocaine and heroin
The case comes as the county lines epidemic fuels an upsurge in violence, with the number of gangs competing in the drugs trade soaring from 720 last November to almost 2,000 today.
Gaille Bola, though only 22 years old, is one of the biggest drugs barons to be brought to justice so far.
The Congolese kingpin was already earning £۱,۰۰۰ a day running three separate county lines in Hertfordshire, supplying hundreds of addicts.
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Considered by Scotland Yard to be one of the capital’s most dangerous gangsters, he used an army of children to run three lucrative drugs chains supplying Stevenage, Ware and Hertford.
But profits of £۳۶۵,۰۰۰ a year were not enough for the gang leader who wanted to expand into north-east London by taking over a thriving business run by one of his proteges, who was a once a childhood family friend.
Detectives believe Bola introduced Cornelio to drug dealing and lured him into the Get Money Gang, or GMG, when he was 15 after the teenager moved to Enfield, north London, from Tulse Hill, south London, and wanted to make new friends.
Gaille Bola, 22, Mix Parlay Saba is one of the biggest drugs barons to be brought to justice so far after he stabbed Cornelio on the morning of New Year’s Eve last year
The schoolboy, known as Schak or Steve, was groomed by Bola for years, working for him initially as a runner before establishing a busy county line of his own in October 2017.
He trained as a plumber and electrician but found drug dealing to be more lucrative.
When Bola saw the cash he was making, thought to be hundreds of pounds a day, he resolved to ambush the young dealer as he was stocking up in preparation for the biggest party of the year.
The gangster, nicknamed Ghost, struck on the morning of New Year’s Eve last year as Cornelio was bagging up a massive stash of cocaine and heroin for that evening at a friend’s house in Enfield.
When Bola arrived at 11am with two associates, the victim let him in, but refused to hand over the Nokia handset.
Bola repeatedly punched him in the head shouting ‘Give me the phone’ before stabbing him in the chest and fleeing with the phone as well as cash and drugs thought to be worth thousands of pounds.
Drug users who were in the property called the emergency services at 11.30am.They found the victim conscious on the living room floor, but reluctant to answer questions. He died later that day.
Detectives later found 50 wraps of cocaine hidden in another room which Bola missed, as well as equipment used for cutting and bagging drugs.Although Bola was after the phone, it was to prove his undoing as police were able to track him through it.
He handed himself in to a police station just over a week later on January 8 when he told police: ‘I did not stab Schak.I was not involved in the stabbing of Schak – he was a good family friend.’
But jurors at his trial at Blackfriars Crown Court heard that the killing was entirely about drugs. Prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse said: ‘Everybody closely involved [in this case] was using drugs or supplying drugs.’
Bola was found guilty of manslaughter during a retrial in November after earlier being cleared of murder during a first trial at the Old Bailey in July.He now faces a life sentence when he is sentenced on January 11.
The career criminal already has a long list of 13 convictions for 20 separate offences including multiple knife offences and drug dealing.
Detective Sergeant Brett Hagen said: ‘I believe this is the first killing specifically for a county line business.It was a basic old Nokia handset, but … that phone was profitable enough to be killed for. There were hundreds of calls daily to that phone.’