Drug supply suspects arrested in County Lines operation
Drug supply suspects were arrested and vulnerable children safeguarded as West Mids Police took part in a UK-wide crackdown on ‘County Lines’ dealing.
The week-long focus saw officers make significant arrests, including three Birmingham men detained in Wales suspected of running a crack cocaine and heroin supply chain from the West Midlands.
Amees Mohammed, aged 21 from Oscott, was charged with possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply, while two men – aged 25 from Erdington and 19 from Newtown – were released under investigation while enquiries continue into their involvement.
Plain clothes ‘spotters’ from the Organised Crime & Gangs Unit also conducted patrols of Newtown and Erdington in unmarked vehicles on the lookout for known offenders – supported by traffic cops – to disrupt anyone linked to drugs or child exploitation.
Several vehicles were stopped, three of which were seized, and two men arrested. They include a 28-year-old with suspected County Lines links who was detained for driving without a licence or insurance; his phone was seized for analysis.
Neighbourhood officers visited schools and youth centres across the region to further raise awareness of County Lines among children and teachers, while also speaking to staff at fast food outlets popular with teenagers urging them to report any suspicious behaviour.
Detective Superintendent Rich Agar, West Midlands Police’s lead for County Lines, said:
“There was a wide range of activity – from proactively targeting suspected offenders to protecting children who could potentially be exploited to deal drugs on their behalf.
“Officers also spent time talking to staff at hotels and taxi firms – to again help them identify the signs that children might be being groomed – and spoke to teenagers at bus stops and transport hubs near secondary schools.
“They identified 16 children deemed vulnerable to exploitation and steps to safeguard them with partner agencies are under way.
“The activity was part of a nationwide County Lines intensification week but this kind of activity is very much business as usual for West Midlands Police.
“Every day there is work going on to disrupt offenders and protect children and we’re continually developing intelligence around County Line suspects we believe are using children and vulnerable adults to deal drugs on their behalf.
“Part of our work involves targeting certain schools and colleges at home time when there is concern offenders could be grooming children. If anyone believes a child is being exploited to commit crime, or suspect people of grooming, please contact us so we can take action.”
Nationally, the County Lines intensification week (21-27 Jan) resulted in the recovery of more than 140 weapons – including 12 firearms, swords and machetes – and the seizure of more than £200,000 in cash and a large amount of drugs.
Around 600 children and 400 adults were also spoken to and signposted to safeguarding support.
The latest intelligence assessment on County Lines issued by the National Crime Agency suggests there are 2,000 active individual drug lines in the UK – of which around 180 are exporting out of the West Midlands.