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Warrants carried out in county lines operations

29 Jul 2020


  • Arrests made across Hertfordshire and in London targeting county lines gangs.

  • Warrants carried out by the Operation Mantis and Stevenage Scorpion teams.

  • Three charged and six arrested in two operations.

Police have carried out warrants at addresses across Hertfordshire and in London as part of an operation targeting county lines gangs.

Following an arrest in Stevenage on 20 June, officers from the dedicated county lines Operation Mantis team searched another Stevenage address making another arrest on 2 July. Crack cocaine and heroin were seized at both addresses.

After further investigations, four warrants were carried out on 22 July in Borehamwood, St Albans and two London addresses, during which further arrests were made.

Trae Cuff, 24, of Ariel Road, London, and Panashe Madanire, 25,  of Hawkins Road, London were charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs and remanded into custody.

Six others were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply class A drugs during the operation:

  • A 22 year old man from St Albans
  • A 59 year old woman from St Albans
  • A 30 year old woman from Stevenage
  • A 16 year old man from Luton
  • A 22 year old man from Luton
  • A 24 year old woman from Borehamwood

They were all released whilst investigations continue.

In a separate county lines operation the Stevenage Scorpion team, supporting by the Operation Mantis team, arrested an individual during an investigation into a gang supplying crack cocaine and heroin in Stevenage. A warrant was conducted in Stevenage on Tuesday 28 July, where Hamsa Jama, aged 30, of Down Close, Northolt was arrested and subsequently charged with being concerned in the supply of class A drugs and under the Proceeds of Crime Act and remanded into custody.

Detective Sergeant Jon Leak, who leads Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Op Mantis team, said: “We are constantly working to target those who are involved in county lines drug dealing and other gang activities.

“These gang members do not hesitate to use violence and exploit the vulnerable, often using children to run drugs and taking over the homes of society’s most vulnerable people - known as ‘cuckooing’ - to use it as a base to run their drug dealing operations from.

“Although Hertfordshire does not have a major problem with county lines, it is a problem that has continued to grow across the country and we are determined to prevent it spreading into Hertfordshire.”

You can report information about a crime online or speak to an operator in our Force Communications Room via our online web chat. You also call the non-emergency number 101. If a crime is in progress call 999.

Alternatively, you can stay 100% anonymous by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their untraceable online form.

Help and support for those with drug addiction:

If someone you know has a drug problem, they can get help by contacting Frank on 0800 77 66 00 or visiting.

What is County Lines?

County Lines is the name given to describe drug dealing, which involves criminal networks from urban areas expanding their activities into smaller towns and rural areas. 

It often involves the exploitation of children, as gangs use young people and those with mental health or addiction problems to transport drugs and money. These gangs establish a base in the location they are targeting, often taking over the homes of local vulnerable adults by force or coercion in a practice referred to as ‘cuckooing’.

Dealers typically use a single phone line to facilitate the supply of Class A drugs to customers. The phone line is highly valuable and is protected through violence and intimidation.

What is Cuckooing?

Cuckooing is the term used when gangs establish a base in the location they are targeting, often taking over the homes of vulnerable adults by force or coercion.

How to spot the signs that cuckooing might be happening in your neighbourhood:

  • Lots of different people coming and going from an address during the day and at night.
  • Suspicious smells coming from the property.
  • Windows covered or curtains closed all of the time.
  • Cars pulling up to or near to the house for a short period of time.
  • An increase in anti-social behaviour around the property.



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