County lines drug gang jailed for total of 14 years

Omar Aziz, Malik Aziz and Samir Mustafa were sentenced at Kingston Crown Court. Credit: Met Police

Three county lines drug dealers who exploited two missing London boys aged 14 and 15 to sell drugs in Hertfordshire have been jailed for a total of 14 years.

The children have been safeguarded following the county lines operation by specialist Met officers.

Officers from Operation Orochi raided an address in Hatfield on 18 January 2022 and found two missing boys from London.

Detectives later detained twin brothers Omar and Malik Aziz in Streatham.

The three men were sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on Tuesday, 2 May after pleading guilty at the same court.

County lines is when children or vulnerable people are exploited or coerced by organised crime groups into transporting, selling, or storing illegal drugs or money.A mobile phone found in the police search was discovered to be the number for a Hatfield drugs line. This line had been directing children to supply drugs on their behalf and sending out bulk SMS messages advertising crack cocaine and heroin for sale.

Officers discovered a bag containing a small unloaded Sig Sauer self-loading pistol at their home and eight rounds of ammunition were found in a man-bag.

More than £2,000 in cash was seized from the address and Samir Mustafa’s driving licence was also seized, along with a zombie knife.

Mustafa was arrested the following day after being identified as the person who drove the children to and from Hatfield in his Mercedes S Class car.

The two children were not prosecuted and were referred to Children's Services from respective local authorities and the Single Competent Authority/National Referral Mechanism.

Since 1 April 2023 Orochi, working closely with Rescue and Response, have conducted 20 operations, rescuing 27 children from County Lines and charged 25 individuals with modern slavery offences.

Malik Aziz was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply crack cocaine/heroin and possession of a firearm. Omar Aziz, 24, Streatham was sentenced to three years and two months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin.

Samir Mustafa 24, was sentenced to two years and three months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply crack cocaine/heroin and driving while disqualified.

All three were also issued with ten-year Criminal Behaviour Orders.

Detective Constable Dec James, the investigating officer from Operation Orochi, said: “County lines drug dealers exploit young and vulnerable people to facilitate their drug supply. They hope that by using vulnerable children as drugs runners they will shield themselves from identification and prosecution by law enforcement.

"This is because frequently, these exploited persons are too scared to assist police.

“Drill music was also used to glorify their criminal activities. I hope this sentence sends out a message that we will not tolerate the exploitation of children nor the supply of drugs. We will pursue those involved, irrespective of whether the victim assists the police or not.“The additional recovery of a loaded firearm associated with these perpetrators reflects the intractable association between drug supply and violence.”