11:22AM, Tuesday 14 September 2021
Reading Crown Court
Five people have been convicted of multiple offences following an investigation into a county lines gang in which two ‘vulnerable young men’ were held against their will.
The two victims were ‘coerced’ into dealing class A drugs for the gang operating in West London and were, on occasion, subject to threats of violence and held captive.
The convictions relate to two incidents, which occurred on April 22 and December 5, 2020.
In the first incident in April, both victims sustained ABH level injuries, while in December one of the victims was subject to threats of violence but was otherwise unhurt.
Five people have been convicted of a string of offences relating to false imprisonment, blackmail, drugs supply and money laundering offences in Slough and Maidenhead.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Rob Gibson, based at Maidenhead police station, said: “This string of offences against two young victims, who were effectively groomed into a life of crime, were utterly horrendous.
“Both victims were vulnerable young men, and were coerced into drug dealing by an organised crime group intent on bringing their drugs into the Thames Valley.
“After a trial, all five offenders were convicted by unanimous jury verdict of various offences, and they will now be sentenced accordingly.
“We are committed to removing the serious issue of drug dealing from our communities, making the Thames Valley a hostile place for county lines dealers.
“They often target the most vulnerable people in our society, and all five will now be sentenced accordingly.”
Lennon Gomes, 22, of Shaftesbury Avenue, Feltham, 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 Friday (10/9).
Mustafa Mohamud, 27, of Cottage Road, Islington, was found guilty of one count of money laundering.
Anne-Marie Garland, 19, of Aylsham Close, Reading, was convicted of one count of encouraging the commission of offences.
Syed Shah, 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).
Naveed Mahmood, 28, of Basildene Road, Hounslow, was found guilty of one count of false imprisonment and one count of blackmail against one victim.
Shah was charged on December 23, 2020, Mahmood on January 22, 2021, Gomes on February 12, Mohamud on April 9 and Garland on April 12.
All five will return to Reading Crown Court for sentencing on 29 October.
This weekend’s smart motorway closures on the M4 will be shorter than usual due to separate bridge works taking place in West Berkshire (Junctions 13-14)