A county lines drug dealer who was arrested following a stop and search in Bedford has been sentenced to three years behind bars.
County lines typically involve drugs gangs from London selling their products in other towns using a phone line.
These gangs are often linked to serious violence and intimidation, grooming of young people to deal drugs, and the ‘cuckooing’ of the addresses of vulnerable people to use as a base for their criminal enterprise.
Community officers found Esa Wabasemba in possession of Class A drugs, cash and mobile phones following a stop and search in Bedford last October.
He was found in possession of a total of 14 wraps of cocaine and heroin, £326 in cash and four mobile phones but the 20-year-old, of West Hill, London, initially claimed the drugs were for his own consumption.
But Bedfordshire Police officers were able to successfully prove that Wabasemba was a dealer involved in county lines activity.
Wabasemba pleaded guilty to two counts of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.
At Luton Crown Court on Monday (29 April), he was sentenced to spend three years in a young offender institute.
PC Oliver Fitton, from Bedfordshire Police’s Serious and Complex Investigation Team, said: “The manner in which Wabasemba was carrying the drugs and his whereabouts on that night strongly suggested he was involved in drug dealing.
“We know that drug dealers from London are operating in and around Bedford. These gangs are involved in all kinds of criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults, and are often linked to serious violence and other forms of organised crime.
“It is right that Wabasemba has been handed a significant custodial sentence. This case also highlights the success that police can have when our stop and search powers are used correctly.”
Anyone with information about drug dealing can contact Bedfordshire Police on 101 or via our online reporting centre. All of these reports are fed into police intelligence systems and help officers build up a better picture of organised crime.
You can also report information anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. If you think someone is being exploited by a county lines gang you can also call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.