Three drug dealers who ran a County Lines drug network in the Stevenage area have been jailed for more than 13 years in total.
Following an investigation by Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Operation Mantis team, three men were arrested for running a drug supply network from Birmingham into Stevenage between December 2020 – May 2021. This County Line, known as the A1 line, was responsible for supplying crack cocaine and heroin in Stevenage and the surrounding areas.
In May 2021 police executed multiple warrants at addresses across the Birmingham area, arresting three men in the process. More than £9,000 worth of crack cocaine and heroin was recovered, along with over £12,000 in cash during the operation. The men were charged the following day and remanded into custody.
The men appeared at St Albans Crown Court on Friday 7 January after pleading guilty to conspiring to supply class A drugs at an earlier hearing in July 2021.
Naeem Ahmed, 25, of Warren Farm Road, Birmingham, was sentenced to six years and nine months in prison
Abdullah Milash, 25, of Merryhill Drive, Birmingham, was sentenced to four years in prison
Alfie Eaves, 27, of Sinclair Court, Birmingham was sentenced to two years and seven months in prison.
Detective Constable Chris Cowell, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Serious and Organised Crime Command, said: “Ahmed and Milash ran the A1 line, which supplied drugs into the Stevenage area from Birmingham. The disruption of this line will make a significant impact on drugs use and associated crime in the county. It also sends a clear message that drug dealing will not go unpunished and anyone involved will be caught and jailed.
“Exploitation of vulnerable people is just one of the tragic symptoms of organised drug gangs. County Lines dealers can coerce people into providing a base for dealers to operate or to act as distributers themselves. They often use young people to handle drugs and money, drawing them deeper into gang affiliation that often leads to violence and abuse.”
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.
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.
Operation Mantis is Hertfordshire Constabulary’s specialist unit that proactively targets County Lines gangs.
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.