County Lines gang jailed for drugs and blackmail offences in Slough and Maidenhead

Trial of Maidenhead trio accused of sex offences continues

Reading Crown Court

A County Lines gang have been sentenced to a total of 35 years' imprisonment for holding two vulnerable young men against their will, drugs supply and money laundering offences in Slough and Maidenhead. 

Lennon Gomes, Anne-Marie Garland, Syed Shah and Naveed Mahmood were given substantial jail sentences and Mustafa Mohamud was given a community order relating to two incidents against two separate victims in April and December 2020. 

Police said the victims were 'effectively groomed into a life of crime' and the offences against them were 'utterly horrendous'. 

The court heard that the two victims were dealing Class A drugs for a gang based out of West London which had been branching out into the Home Counties using Country Drugs Lines. 

Both victims had been coerced into doing so, and were in these incidents held against their will and subjected to threats of violence.

The first incident took place on 22 April, 2020, when Gomes summoned one of the victims, a man aged in his late teens, to an address in Slough.

Gomes told the victim that another dealer had left the gang and had stolen money in the process and ordered him to start making calls to find out where he was.

When the victim told Gomes that he could not locate this person, threats were made to him.

Shortly afterwards, a group of men arrived at the address and one of these was Mahmood.

They took the victim to a vehicle where he was forced into a car and was driven around Slough.

The offenders demanded to know where the missing drug dealer was and began hitting the victim, who was also threatened to be stabbed.

While in the car, the victim’s mother called his phone and he was allowed to answer.

He was given instructions about what to tell her and explained he was in a car being assaulted and a demand of £1,000 was made for his release.

The victim’s mother agreed to this and transferred the money into Gomes’s bank account.

Gomes then transferred these funds into an account held by Mohamud, who conducted a set of bank transfers to disguise the origin of the cash.

These payments allowed matters to settle down, and the victim continued to deal drugs for the gang.

In the second incident, on 5 December 2020, the same victim was at home when Gomes called at his address unannounced and told him he had to go to Hounslow with him.

The victim got into a vehicle, being driven by Shah, and was then taken to a second address in Maidenhead, where they picked up a second victim, also a man aged in his late teens.

At this point, the first victim tried to leave the car, but he was ordered to stay by Gomes.

On arrival at Gomes' address in Hounslow, the first victim was threatened with a large machete and was accused of planning to steal drugs and money.

The gang told him that Anne-Marie Garland, who was the first victim’s ex-partner, had tipped them off.

The second victim was then struck by another man wielding a baseball bat and was beaten and dragged out to Shah’s car.

He was driven to garages where he was assaulted again, and then was returned to Gomes’s address.

The first victim was then ordered to begin preparing class A drugs, before both were returned home by Shah.

This set of incidents made both victims decide that they no longer wanted to have anything to do with the gang, but when they told Gomes about this, the first victim was told that he would need to pay £2,500 as a leaving fee.

He handed this over to Gomes on 9 December 2020, but was then told that victim two still had to pay £2,500 if he wanted to leave the gang.

The first victim sustained ABH level injuries in the first incident in April and the second victim likewise in December.

The five appeared court for sentencing on Friday at Reading Crown Court. 

Lennon Gomes, (pictured below) aged 22, of Shaftesbury Avenue, Feltham was jailed for 18 years' imprisonment. He was found guilty by unanimous jury verdict of three counts of false imprisonment, two counts of blackmail, and two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs (heroin and cocaine). He also pleaded guilty to one count of possession of cannabis in a trial at Reading Crown Court, which concluded on 10 September. 

Syed Shah (pictured below), aged 22, of Priory Green, Islington, was found guilty of two counts of false imprisonment and two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs (heroin and cocaine).He was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment. 

Naveed Mahmood (pictured below), aged 28, of Basildene Road, Hounslow, was found guilty of one count of false imprisonment and one count of blackmail against one victim. He was jailed for six years' sentences. 

Mustafa Mohamud, aged 27, of Cottage Road, Islington, was found guilty of one count of money laundering. He was sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work and given a 12-month community order.

Anne-Marie Garland (below), aged 19, of Aylsham Close, Reading, was convicted of one count of encouraging the commission of an offence of false imprisonment. She was sentenced to two years and nine months in a young offenders’ institution. Police said although Garland was not a member of the gang, she was aware of what they were capable of and spread a 'malicious lie'.

 

Investigating officer Detective Constable Rob Gibson, based at Maidenhead police station, said: “I would like to praise both victims for coming forward, it cannot have been easy for them to approach us and speak so candidly about what had happened to them.

“Their accounts sparked a large scale investigation, which focused on what they had told us.

“Both victims have supported the investigation every step of the way and have enabled us to bring some very manipulative and dangerous individuals to justice.

“Gomes, Shah, Mahmood and Mohamud were all members of, or were working for a west London-based gang who were using County Lines tactics to move their drugs into the Home Counties.

“This business frequently involves the exploitation of vulnerable youths to carry out the actual drug dealing, as is the case here.

“It is a despicable practice, which ruins the lives of young people and their families.

“Garland was not a member of the gang. However, she was aware what they were capable of and spread a malicious lie that her ex-partner – one of the victims – was planning to steal drugs and money from them.

“She was the catalyst for many of the offences that occurred in December 2020 and will now have to deal with the consequences of involving herself with a County Lines gang.

“I am delighted with this court result, which reflects the very dim view the courts take of anyone involved in the supply of drugs using County Lines tactics.

“With sentences totalling almost 35 years’ imprisonment for four of the five offenders, they will all have a very long time to reflect on their frankly abhorrent actions.

“I hope that both victims will take solace that we have brought the offenders to justice and they can move on with their lives.”

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on

Characters left: 1500

Editor's Picks

Most read

Top Articles