United Kingdom

County Lines gang who trafficked autistic schoolboy, 15, from London to Swansea jailed for 40 years

A County Lines gang which trafficked a 15-year-old autistic schoolboy from London to Wales to work as their drugs runner has been jailed for more than 40 years.

The five dealers employed the starving teen as their courier and repeatedly ignored his requests for food, Kingston Crown Court heard. 

Meanwhile one of the leaders enjoyed a trip to Dubai with his girlfriend and was found with stacks of cash in his house when he was arrested.  

The gang ran two drugs lines, called Gino and Gino 2, selling cocaine and heroin between January 23 and October 1 last year. 

They were tracked down after the boy they hired as a courier went missing from his north London home for two weeks and was found at an address in Swansea.

Kenneth Langrish, who drove the young victim to Swindon for the first leg of his journey to Wales, was first arrested on October 6.

Investigators discovered how the desperate teenager had sent a text messages asking for food - only to be cruelly ifnored. 

Jemy Capitao (pictured),  of Llanelli, south Wales, admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and possessing criminal property at an earlier hearing. Part-way through the trial Capitao also admitted one count of arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploit. He was jailed for 12 years.

Basky Capitao (pictured), 27, of Waltham Cross, Herts, was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment while (right)  Ayyub Elaouzi, 22, of Waltham Cross, was sentenced to eight years and four months’ imprisonment

He said ‘can’t lie I’m hungry’ and in another text, he wrote: ‘I’m broke bro I haven’t eaten since yesterday.’

Langrish, 36, was found to have the 125 packages of crack cocaine in his bulging underpants when he was arrested.

One of the gang members, Ayyub Elaouzi, 22, was arrested on September 16 last year.

The Gino line, which had been active five minutes before he was arrested, then ceased, the court heard.

The next day Jemy Capitao, described as a ‘line runner’ bought two mobile phone top up vouchers from a newsagent in Swansea and bulk messages were sent out from the Gino 2 line.

Police found magazines and bullets for firearms during raids on gang members' homes 

A Gucci box containing a 22-calibre pistol (pictured) was found at Harvey Kimpton's address in Harlow, Essex

One message read: ‘The real Gino is back on bang bang.’

Several of the gang went on the run after the teenager was found in squalor in Swansea on September 25.

Capitao, 28, was found in bed with his girlfriend in a hotel in Milton Keynes, Bucks, on October 1 last year.

Jurors had heard how Capitao and his girlfriend enjoyed a summer holiday in Dubai with the money they made.

Also in the hotel room officers found £2,910 in cash which was wedged into the handle of a kettle.

Harvey Kimpton, 21, was arrested outside his home after a Gucci box containing a 22-calibre pistol was found at his address in Harlow, Essex.

Text messages uncovered on the victim’s phone by officers from Operation Orochi - the Met’s specialist crime team dedicated to tackling county lines drugs supply - revealed the extent of the operation as well as those involved.

Harvey Kimpton (pictured), of Harlow, Essex, admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and possessing a prohibited firearm, as well as two counts of possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply. He was jailed for 11 years.

Harry King (left) was jailed for two years while Kenneth Langrish (right) will be sentenced at a later date 

What are County Lines gangs?  

County Lines is a term used for organised illegal drug-dealing networks, usually controlled by a person using a single telephone number or ‘deal line’.

They operate out of major UK cities such as London, Liverpool and Birmingham, and they distribute illegal drugs across rural and suburban counties via ‘runners’.

Vulnerable children and adults are recruited as runners to transport drugs and cash all over the country, so that the criminals behind it can remain detached and less likely to be detected.

This crime is often associated with other serious crimes such as sexual exploitation, violence, money laundering and human trafficking.

Criminal gangs establish a base in a particular location, sometimes by taking over the homes of local vulnerable adults by force or coercion in a practice referred to as ‘cuckooing’ (see below). 

They then target vulnerable local children and adults to become involved in selling drugs through a process of grooming. 

Once someone is involved with a criminal gang, it becomes difficult for them to escape.

Source: Crimestoppers 

The victim was in regular contact with Jemy Capitao and the Gino and Gino 2 lines.

Capitao of Llanelli, south Wales, admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and possessing criminal property at an earlier hearing.

Part-way through the trial Capitao also admitted one count of arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploit.

Capitao was jailed for 12 years.

His brother Basky Capitao, 27, of Waltham Cross, Herts, was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploit.

He was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment.

Kimpton, of Harlow, Essex, admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and possessing a prohibited firearm, as well as two counts of possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply. He was also jailed for 11 years.

Elaouzi, of Waltham Cross, admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and one count of arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploit. He was sentenced to eight years and four months’ imprisonment.

Harry King, 20, of Hertford, Herts, was found guilty of arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploit. He was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, suspended for two years.

Langrish admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and one count of arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploit. He had previously pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.

He will be sentenced on a date to be fixed.

Thea Viney, from the CPS, said: ‘These drug dealers worked hand in hand and trafficked a vulnerable teenager from London to Wales.

‘They intended to exploit him as a drugs runner and had no consideration for his welfare as was evident from the poor condition of the address he was found at.

‘To this day the young victim has never supplied a statement to support the investigation which, unfortunately, is a common feature of cases of this nature.

‘The prosecution was able to present evidence of the close association between these defendants through clear phone analysis despite the use of Nokia burner phones.’

Some of this included incriminating messages found on the phones.

County Lines gang (top row from left): Jemy Capitao, Kenneth Langrish andHarvey Kimpton and (bottom row from left) Harry King, Basky Capitao and Ayyub Elaouzi

She added: ‘We were also able to show the jury that while Jemy Capitao and his girlfriend enjoyed a summer holiday in Dubai - his younger brother Basky Capitao took complete charge of the drugs line sending out numerous adverts for Class A drugs to punters.’

Detective Constable Ben Baker, 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 the police.

‘This investigation has shown that the police are able to pursue those involved with exploiting children for drug supply, irrespective of whether a victim assists the police or not. 

'We hope this case will discourage future gangs from using children as drugs runners by showing that it isn’t any barrier to their prosecution.’

Football news:

Ronaldo, please, can you stop? It would make my day off. Cristiano was photographed with a boy at the entrance to the Manchester United base
Savich about the referee in the game with Athletic: It's not normal to show 15 cards for every word. Felix had no intention of touching anyone
Tim Sherwood: It will be difficult for Werner at Chelsea. He must show Tuchel that he has more than just good press
Klattenburg on Klopp: He does not know how to lose. When things went wrong, he began to get annoyed
Guardiola on the City fans after 0:0: I feel guilty at a bad game. I will be grateful even if 85 people come
Arteta about the series Ted Lasso: It gives a different perspective - you can look at things from different sides
Marca dashes evaluated the game of Suarez and Felix in the match with Athletic