The fight against county lines drug gangs continues as two Bedford men have been jailed as part of an operation that has seen more than £50,000 worth of illegal drugs seized.
Between them, Amir Ghafoor, 30, of Bunyan Road, and Ussman Zafar, 30, of Oldfield Road, received more than six years in jail terms after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin.
Extensive work from officers in Bedfordshire Police’s intelligence, community and crime teams led to Ghafoor and Zafar being linked to the G Man line, a drugs line responsible for the sale of Class A drugs in Bedford.
A targeted operation against the G Man county line resulted in the seizure of more than £2,000 in cash, as well as cannabis with a potential street value of up to £22,610, crack cocaine with a potential street value of up to £8,500 and heroin with a potential value of £21,120.
The £2,425.21 cash seized has been donated to YouTurn Futures, a charity that helps tackle exploitation and serious youth violence in Bedfordshire.
The pair were sentenced at Luton Crown Court on Tuesday (20 July). Ghafoor received three years and nine months, and Zafar received two years and seven months.
County lines drug dealing typically involves drugs gangs selling their products in other towns using a dedicated phone line.
These gangs can often exploit children and groom them into selling drugs on their behalf, as well as exploiting vulnerable adults by taking over their address and using it as a base to deal from, in a practice known as cuckooing.
Sergeant James West, who led the operation, said: “As a team we have carried out significant investigative work to help us identify some of these key players involved in county lines and drug trafficking in Bedford.
“This is one of the many successful crackdowns we have launched against county lines in recent times, and we understand that we face a significant challenge from organised crime in the county.
“Our communities should be assured that we are on the front foot in driving it down and working towards making our county safer.”
Detective Chief Inspector Louisa Glynn, Bedfordshire Police’s tactical lead for imported county lines, added: “In the past few weeks we have achieved some excellent results in tackling county lines and illicit drug activity, as we continue to disrupt the organised criminal networks operating in and around Bedfordshire.
“County lines drug gangs typically target children and young people and coerce or exploit them into carrying drugs and weapons across the county.
“These children may face extreme violence and intimidation as well as ‘debt bondage’, where gangs will arrange for the young runner to get robbed so they are in the gang’s debt.
“This is why it is so important we continue to work alongside our partners to help people who are vulnerable to this exploitation to support them, as well as targeting these drugs gangs and disrupting their activities.”
Anyone with information about drug dealing, county lines or child criminal exploitation can contact Bedfordshire Police on 101 or via the force’s online reporting centre.