Organised Crime Gang sentenced for drug and modern slavery offences
Six drug dealers have been jailed after a vulnerable teenager was trafficked as part of a county lines network.
The 15-year-old victim was exploited by the Newport-based organised crime group who targeted teenagers in Neath to sell drugs on their behalf.
Phone evidence forming part of the case against the defendants captured some of the gang talking about how to get boys to sell drugs for them.
Over the course of less than six months, a teenage victim was contacted 324 times by the dealers exploiting him.
The group were each sentenced on Monday, 21 August 2023 at Swansea Crown Court.
Ringleaders Dwayde Stock, 28, David Allen, 30, and Justin Henshall, 36, all from Newport each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic under the Modern Slavery Act and conspiracy to supply a Class A drug. Stock was sentenced to nine years, Allen to eight years and three months and Henshall to six years and eight months.
Newport men Joshua Jefferies, 32, Ottis Jefferies, 28, Bernard Hurely, 37, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a Class A drug. They each respectively received three years and eight months, three years and four months, and three years and four months.
Ruth Lawrence, 38, from Tonypandy and Kenzie Booth, 19, from Newport also pleaded guilty to the same charge and will be sentenced at a later date.
Specialist Prosecutor Louisa Robertson, from CPS Cymru-Wales, said: “A schoolboy was exploited and trafficked as part of an illegal drug enterprise in South Wales. The CPS used modern slavery legislation to destroy a county lines network and protect a teenage boy.
“These criminals targeted young males who had an air of vulnerability and could be manipulated and taken advantage of as drug runners.
“The prosecution case included mobile phone evidence which included messages showing the hierarchy of the group and the roles each defendant played within the operation. The overwhelming evidence against each defendant meant that they had little choice but to admit their involvement.
“The CPS recognises the harm caused to communities, families and lives by drug networks using children and young people to carry out their illegal activities. We will always seek to prosecute such offenders where there is the evidence to do so. I hope that this prosecution has resulted in taking more illegal drugs and associated enterprises off our streets.”
Notes to editors
- Dwayde Stock (DOB: 15/10/1994) Justin Henshall (DOB: 18/2/1997) and David Allen (DOB: 4/11/1992) were convicted of trafficking a child, contrary to the Modern Slavery Act, 2015 and conspiracy to supply class A, contrary to the Criminal Law Act 1977.
- Joshua Jefferies (DOB: 12/9/1990), Ottis Jefferies (DOB 31/7/1995), Bernard Hurley (DOB: 7/2/1986), Kenzie Booth (DOB: 17/12/2003) and Ruth Lawrence (DOB: 28/8/1984) were convicted of conspiracy to supply Class A.
- Louisa Robertson is a Specialist Prosecutor in the CPS Cymru-Wales Complex Casework Unit.