Two men from Merseyside have been sentenced to a total of 16 and a half years in prison today (Thursday 9 February) following an investigation into modern slavery and County Lines drugs offences.
Andrew Hansen, 49, of Anfield and Carl Price, 29, of Tuebrook, both appeared at Liverpool Crown Court after pleading guilty to drugs offences and arranging or facilitating the travel of an individual for exploitation under Section 2 of the Modern Slavery Act.
Hansen (pictured above, right) was sentenced to seven years for being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploitation.
Price (pictured above, left) was sentenced to nine and a half years for being concerned in the supply of heroin and crack cocaine and arranging to facilitate the travel of another person with a view to exploitation.
The County Lines investigation focussed on the Encrochat handle ‘Scouse Jimmy’, as part of Operation Toxic and Project Medusa.
It was discovered that Hansen and Price had been supplying drugs to Rhyl in north Wales.
The investigation also found that Hansen and Price were responsible for using a 16-year-old Merseyside boy to help carry out County Lines drug dealing.
Detective Sergeant of County Lines Investigations, Shaun McNee said, “We’re pleased that this case has come to a successful conclusion and that Hansen and Price will now be spending a significant amount of time in prison. To force a teenage boy to deal drugs is nothing less than cruelty, a view shared by the courts.
“The exploitation of young people to carry out crime is not a new phenomenon, but law enforcement is gaining a greater understanding of the signs to spot, and how to quickly find and safeguard those being targeted.
“As this investigation has shown once again, regional boundaries do not matter and we work closely with forces and other agencies in order to shut County Lines down. Regular operations take place as part of Project Medusa, and we’re finding that more people, communities and organisations are aware of what behaviours and patterns to look out for in young and otherwise vulnerable people around them.
“Ultimately everyone should be warned that if you get involved in crime, you risk facing the consequences. But when we identify vulnerable, exploited people during our enquiries, we ensure they are treated with sensitivity and understanding, and are offered the appropriate support. Our primary target is those, like Hansen and Price, who sought to use them for their own selfish gain.”
Officers will continue to target suspected criminals through Operation Toxic, which is Merseyside Police’s initiative to infiltrate County Lines drug dealings.
Read more here about how to spot the signs of exploitation linked to drug dealing and the Eyes Open campaign, introduced by Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership: https://www.merseyside.police.uk/police-forces/merseyside-police/areas/campaigns/campaigns/2018/eyes-open/
You can also report any concerns to police via 101, via Twitter @MerPolCC or Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information
#Always call 999 if a crime is in progress.
Image: Merseyside Police