A further four people, who pleaded guilty to drug offences following Op Jetway - our county lines' week long operation in Swindon - have been sentenced to a total of 15 years.
In October 2019, a total of 63 people were arrested following the intensification week targeting drug lines and criminal gangs in the town.
Today (31/01) the following people were jailed at Swindon Crown Court:
Hector Mclean (50), from London, admitted to two charges of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs, two charges of supplying Class A drugs and one of witness intimidation. He was sentenced to four years in prison.
Jerome Sewell (25), formerly of no fixed address now of HMP Bullingdon, pleaded guilty to three counts of supplying Class A drugs, two of possession with intent to supply Class A and one of possessing criminal property - namely £300 in cash. He received six years and four months in prison.
Rajae Orlebar (24), from London, pleaded guilty to four counts of supplying Class A drugs, two of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs and one of possessing cannabis. He was given three years and nine months in prison.
Jacob Wyness (18), from Toothill, pleaded guilty to six counts of supplying Class A drugs and two being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs. He received a custodial sentence of 11 months.
Detective Inspector Paul Franklin, who lead Op Jetway, said: “We arrested a total of 63 people during our week-long campaign in October.
“Operation Samphire, which ran last week, was the second phase of Operation Jetway, and saw a further 61 people arrested on suspicion of drug related offences in Swindon. Our work behind the scenes continues with this operation to ensure these individuals are charged and put before the courts, which I am confident will have a significant impact on the county lines picture in Swindon."
In relation to very young people getting caught up in county lines, Paul said: “It is no secret that we are continuing to see young people caught up in the misery that county lines brings to our communities. I fully appreciate that this will cause concern in our communities but please be reassured that we continue to work extremely hard with partner agencies, including the local authorities, schools and colleges to better educate young people of the dangers they are putting themselves in by getting involved in criminal gangs.
“These gangs will often exploit young people and promise them money and other expensive items in exchange for them doing their dirty work and acting as ‘runners’ – delivering class A drugs to users in our community. However, the reality is very different – these young people are put in extremely dangerous situations and made to live in horrendous conditions to carry out this work. They run the risk of being assaulted, robbed for drugs and cash, and ultimately in a lot of debt with the network they are ‘working’ for.
“Using children to deal drugs is immoral and completely inexcusable and this behaviour will not be tolerated in our community.
“We will continue to work with partner agencies to tackle county lines but we would also urge parents to look out for the following signs, which could indicate their child may be exploited by criminal gangs:
- Becoming distant and introverted
- Unable to explain long periods away from the house
- Absent from school
- New and expensive clothing, trainers or phones.
- Unexplained cash
- Episodes of being missing
- Phone continuously ringing/text alerts.”
Wiltshire and Swindon's Police and Crime Commissioner, Angus Macpherson, said: "It's good to see more people being sentenced following the successful Operation Jetway in October.
"We have also seen more success with our current county line operation - Op Samphire - where more people have been arrested and hopefully brought before the courts soon.
"This sends a message to any drug dealer and organised criminal gang that we are not a soft touch here in Wiltshire and the police will act to stop these county lines - which destroy so many lives.
"But remember, it's not just about enforcement, it has to be a multi-agency response in order to best reach those who really need our help.
"Education is also key and the police and my office are working with colleagues in the local authorities, schools and safeguarding to provide information and highlight the dangers.
"However, the public can help by people using their eyes and ears, they too can help police stamp on these criminal gangs.
"I encourage everyone to make themselves aware of the signs to look out for to help stop these criminals from exploiting our young and vulnerable people.
"Please keep calling 101 or 999, if an emergency, or reporting via the police website or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."