The suspects behind a county lines drugs gang operating in Swindon which exploited juvenile runners have been jailed.
Nathan Padman, 21 and Irfan Tarik, 43, of Ilford, East London were identified as the principal criminals behind the ‘Ashton’ crack and heroin dealing network.
An investigation between January and September 2020 by Wiltshire Police’s Operation Fortitude team identified the network, operating out Ilford, East London, was exploiting trafficked juveniles and multiple Class A drug users to deal on their behalf.
In January 2020, the Ashton network supplied Class A drugs on five occasions to an undercover operative, and the first arrests were made.
These included Shohidur Rahman, 45, from Swindon, who played a supporting role to the network.
A detailed investigation was already underway, and the Fortitude team continued to build a case over the subsequent months.
They were able to establish and evidence the link between the suspects and the Ashton network, and Padman, Tarik and Rahman were earlier this year charged with supplying Class A drugs.
The three men pleaded guilty, and at a hearing in Swindon Crown Court on December 15 they were jailed.
Padman was sentenced to 44 months imprisonment, while Tarik and Rahman were sentenced to 32 and 25 months respectively.
T/DS Gareth Snoad of the Fortitude team said: “This was an excellent piece of work by the Fortitude team which required a diligent, creative investigation.
“Padman and Tarik were causing untold harm by exploiting vulnerable juveniles and existing drug users for their own gain, perpetuating the misery that drugs cause in societies.
“I’m delighted we were able to secure convictions and that the three defendants will be spending the next couple of years behind bars.
“This was a county lines operation and the end result shows that it doesn’t matter where you base yourself, if you are supplying drugs in Wiltshire then we will track you down.”