Wales

Birmingham teen trafficked boy to sell drugs in Llanelli

Harrison Coe Image copyright Dyfed-Powys Police
Image caption Harrison Coe instructed a 14-year-old boy to sell cocaine and heroin

A teenager who recruited a vulnerable boy to sell drugs by rewarding him with cannabis has been jailed.

Harrison Coe, 18, was arrested on 12 March as officers pulled his car over on the outskirts of Llanelli, believing it had links to organised crime.

Coe, of Birmingham, was found to have a heroin package with a street value of about £1,175 inside his body, which he secreted while in police custody.

At Swansea Crown Court he pleaded guilty to trafficking the 14-year-old.

He also pleaded guilty to four other counts of supplying and possessing heroin, cocaine and cannabis.

Coe was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison, half of that sentence he will serve in a Young Offenders Institute before going on licence.

What is county lines?

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Media captionWhat is County Lines?

County lines sees urban gangs from the likes of London, Liverpool and Birmingham introduce an untraceable phone number in a different area to sell crack cocaine and heroin directly at street level.

Local runners - often teenagers - then supply the drugs in these suburban areas, market towns and coastal towns around the UK.

The gang often exploits young or vulnerable people to provide locations for drugs to be stored in these new areas, known as cuckooing.

While Coe was in police custody, officers searched for a missing boy they suspected had been with him.

The court heard the 18-year-old had trafficked the child to the Morfa area to sell drugs as part of a County Lines operation for an organised crime group known as "Marco". 

The child had previously fallen out with his mother and was kicked out of his home, the court heard, and he agreed to be picked up by Coe.

Coe drove the child to Llanelli, asking how old he was and whether he was hungry, but making no mention of drugs.

Cannabis reward

The teenage boy was then instructed to sell cocaine and heroin on behalf of the Birmingham gang.

Prosecuting, Catherine Richards QC told the court the child had been given cannabis by way of reward for what he was doing.

The child was found within 24 hours of Coe's arrest, and reunited with his family.

Sentencing, Judge Heywood told Harrison Coe: "This was a sophisticated County Lines drug operation run by an organised crime group in Birmingham.

"You were making a significant contribution to the enterprise."

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