Two men have been charged and remanded after a number of warrants were carried out targeting a county lines drugs gang on Friday (15 December).
The warrant series was led by the Operation Mantis team, Hertfordshire Constabulary‘s dedicated county lines unit, following an investigation into a drug network operating in East Herts and Welwyn Hatfield. Cash, drugs and mobile phones were also recovered during the operation.
The warrants were conducted in Edmonton and Welwyn Garden City during which two men were arrested and later charged:
Jaidon Mitchell, aged 20, of Torridge Rise, Bedford, has been charged with possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of Class A (cocaine).
Andrew Avraam, aged 20, of Mitchell Road, Edmonton, has been charged with possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of Class A (cocaine).
Both have been remanded into custody and will appear in court next month. During the operation two minors, who the gangs had been exploiting as drug runners, were also safeguarded.
Detective Sergeant Chris Cowell, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Operation Mantis team, said: “This latest operation is part of our continuing drive to disrupt and dismantle county lines gangs operating in Hertfordshire. We have made a significant impact on these gangs over recent years, and have again made some significant arrests, seizing drugs and safeguarding several vulnerable children.
“We continue to take a very proactive approach to gang crime, working with our partners in other forces and national agencies, to target those gangs using juveniles in their criminality. County lines gangs pose a significant threat to young people, particularly when they aren’t in school or college, such as during school holidays.”
You can report information about drug related crime in your area online, or by using online web chat or by calling the non-emergency number 101.
Alternatively, you can stay 100% anonymous by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their untraceable online form at crimestoppers-uk.org.
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 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.
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.