A man who ran a county lines drug network across the Watford area has received a jail sentence of seven years.
46-year-old Justin Hawks, of no fixed abode, received the sentence at St Albans Crown Court on Tuesday, March 8, having been convicted of the supply of class A drugs, in his case, crack cocaine.
He received the sentence along with his partner in crime, 33-year-old Rebecca Prowse, of Brindle Court, Watford, who received a two year suspended prison sentence, a rehabilitation activity order and a nine-month long drug referral order for the supply of class A drugs, also crack cocaine.
The pair were arrested following a raid from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Operational Support Group (OSG) on an address in Watford town centre, where officers seized more than £4,000 worth of crack cocaine and mobile phones used to supply drugs. This followed a long-running investigation by the force.
A member of the OSG, PC Hunni Glanville, said: “Vulnerable people are often the ones who suffer the most being drawn into criminal activities, drugs and even sexual exploitation.
“Our operations are making a significant impact on the county lines network operating in Hertfordshire and we will continue to disrupt gang activity and stop the supply of drugs into our towns.”
County lines describes a type of drug dealing across various areas (such as police and local authority boundaries), often carried out by children and/or vulnerable people who have been groomed and/or coerced into working for gangs.
Operation Mantis was launched in 2018 by Hertfordshire Constabulary to combat this issue, and since May 2019 the team has executed 202 search warrants, made 211 arrests and seized over £175,000 in cash, contributing to the sentencing of multiple offenders and dismantling of several gangs.