Two county lines drug dealers have been jailed for human trafficking after vulnerable boys were used to transport heroin and cocaine inside their bodies.
Children's care manager Itman Ismail, 28, and her lover Omorie Nixon, 20, used two 15-year-olds and two 16-year-olds to hold and sell drugs on numerous trips from London to Devon and Cornwall.
Police found two of the boys carrying large amounts of heroin and cocaine inside their rectums.
One of the teens had 80 wraps (10.8g) of crack cocaine and 49 wraps (5g) of heroin inside him, totalling £1,290.
The other was found to have 39 wraps (6.12g) of crack cocaine and 23 wraps (2.28g) of heroin, totalling £1,100 inside him.
A forensic toxicologist ruled that if the packages inside the boys had split, they could have died.
The defendants pleaded guilty to three counts of human trafficking, involving four youths, between December 2019 and March 2020.
Three of these had been assessed as high-risk missing children at the time they were located by police.
Nixon was also convicted of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs – heroin and crack cocaine – and possession of an illicit mobile phone in prison.
Nixon was sentenced to seven years and 10 months in prison and Ismail to four years in prison.
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The duo first came to the attention of police on January 22, 2020, when officers conducted a stop-check on a suspicious vehicle near Plymouth, Devon.
One of the passengers was identified as a vulnerable young missing person and was detained.
The following day officers discovered another 15-year-old boy, registered as a missing person, as well as heroin, cash and a machete, at an address in Torquay.
Detectives subsequently proved the boy had been transported to the address by Ismail and Nixon.
Later in the investigation detectives located a further address in Torquay which they also believed to be cuckooed, where drugs and cash was seized.
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The next day, on January 24, police stopped the same car in Torquay, discovering the defendants with a 15-year-old and 16-year-old boy in the back.
All occupants were arrested. It was at this point the drugs were discovered inside the two teenagers.
Detectives discovered Ismail and Nixon's repeated use of at least seven different hire cars for journeys between London and the Westcountry.
Their trips also involved prolonged stays at Airbnbs in Plymouth and Plympton, totalling around £3,000 in four months.
A PowerPoint presentation entitled 'Human Trafficking – by Itman Ismail' was later discovered on Ismail's laptop.
The victims in this case are being safeguarded and receive on-going support.
Speaking after the sentencing at Exeter Crown Court on Thursday, DC Ben Paul, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said: "This was an extremely complex investigation and required us piecing together a mosaic of evidence which would prove that Nixon and Ismail were linked to a number of different youth victims and isolated incidents.
"Early on we recognised the warning signs indicating that the young people involved may be the victims of human trafficking.
"Evidence showed that Nixon and Ismail arranged and facilitated the travel and accommodation of each vulnerable youth victim, and these youths were being exploited by being used to carry and deal Class A drugs.
"This jigsaw of evidence was pulled together through the collaborative working of a number of different specialist and expert teams within the police.
"The supply of Class A drugs on the streets of Devon and Cornwall has a massively detrimental effect on the community and those vulnerable individuals who live here."
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