A drug dealer who ran a county lines drug network from his prison cell has been given a further seven years in prison.
In November 2020 a vehicle was stopped by Thames Valley Police and the driver found to be in possession of a quantity of class A drugs (crack cocaine and heroin) and a mobile phone linked to the Capo county line. Messages recovered from the phone were traced to a number belonging to a prisoner already serving seven years in the Mount prison for drug offences. A subsequent search of the prisoner’s cell uncovered the phone he was using to run his drug network.
Scott Anthony, aged 29, appeared at St Albans Crown Court on 11 March and was found guilty of being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin and of being in possession of a prohibited item (phone) in prison. He was sentenced on Monday 21 March to an additional seven years and six months in prison.
Detective Sergeant Jon Leak, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Operation Mantis team, said: “Anthony ran the Capo line, which supplied drugs out of Watford into the Thames Valley area. The disruption of this line will make a significant impact on drugs use and associated crime in the region. 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.
If someone you know has a drug problem, they can get help by contacting Frank on 0800 77 66 00 or visiting www.talktofrank.com.
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 Operation Mantis?
The Operation Mantis team was launched in 2018 and is made up of officers who specialise in targeting serious and organised crime. Since May 2019 the team has executed over 202 search warrants, made 211 arrests and seized over £175,000 in cash. This has led to numerous county lines gangs being dismantled and offenders sentenced to more than 206 years in prison in total.
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.