Devon

County Lines: Drug gang that 'preyed on children' jailed for London-Exeter dealing

Clockwise from top left: Hassan Sufi, Ykub Sufi, Ahmed Abdullahi, Faisal Ibrahim, Khadija Shariff, Bobo Faki, Shuiab Awadh Image copyright Police
Image caption Clockwise from top left: Hassan Sufi, Ykub Sufi, Ahmed Abdullahi, Faisal Ibrahim, Khadija Shariff, Bobo Faki, Shuiab Awadh

Members of a gang who used children as young as 13 to deliver drugs have been jailed.

The group was selling up to £10,000 of drugs per week to local users in Exeter, Devon, and moving the money to London where they were from.

Five gang members previously admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine and two were found guilty at trial at Exeter Crown Court.

Judge Timothy Rose said so-called county lines was a "despicable trade".

Devon and Cornwall Police said the gang "preyed on children" to undertake drug-running and cash collection for them.

Five of the people sentenced had taken videos of themselves during drug runs and shared them on Snapchat.

They sent out bulk text messages advertising their products to local dealers and drug users in a county line conspiracy.

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Media captionCounty Lines: Drug gang share videos on social media

Gang members can be seen flaunting large quantities of cash and mocking police, saying "they can never defeat us".

Shuiab Omar Awadh, 24, of Liberty Bridge Road, Stratford and Bobo Faki, 19, of Dukes Court, East Ham, London were found guilty at a trial in April after pleading not guilty. The other five accused all admitted the offences.

Six of the seven defendants were jailed for between three years and three months and eight years and two months.

Faki is to be sentenced at a later date.

In sentencing, Mr Rose said: "I've seen some photos of some of you brazenly posing with money and waving it around. I'm satisfied that large quantities of drugs were involved.

"I've heard evidence that sums of money between £6,000 and £10,000 per week were being obtained and returned to London."

Sentences:

  • Hassan Sufi, 20, of Valence Avenue, Essex, was sentenced to seven years
  • Yakub Sufi, 19, of Valence Avenue, Essex, was sentenced to eight years and two months
  • Ahmed Abdullahi, 21, of Seymour Road, London, was sentenced to five years and three months with additional six months for separate offence of possession of a bladed article
  • Bobo Faki, 19, of Dukes Court, East Ham, London, to be sentenced at a later date
  • Faisal Ibrahim, 24, of Upper Road, London, was sentenced to six years
  • Khadija Shariff, 20, of Crest Walk, South Woodford, London, was sentenced to four years and three months
  • Shuiab Omar Awadh, 24, of Liberty Bridge Road, Stratford, was sentenced to three years and three months

Det Sgt Matt Lawrence from Devon and Cornwall Police said: "Four children aged 13 to 15 were befriended by members of the gang in London before being turned on and threatened, claiming that they lost packages and now owed the gangs hundreds of pounds which they didn't have."

He added: "The gang would brazenly show off their ill-gotten gains... filming themselves during drug runs to Exeter and bringing cash back in London, sharing these videos on Snapchat."

Det Ch Insp Ben Mant, in charge of covert teams, said: "Specialist undercover officers spent more than 10 months gathering in excess of 2,500 pieces of intelligence to help Devon and Cornwall Police secure these convictions and protect children from the gang's violence."

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