Two twin brothers who exploited children to sell drugs in a county lines operation have been jailed.
The brothers were arrested by officers investigating county lines drugs who raided an address in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, and found two missing London boys, aged 14 and 15.
A phone seized from Malik Aziz was found to be the number for a Hatfield drugs line. It had been directing children to supply drugs on their behalf and advertising crack cocaine and heroin for sale.
Detectives raided the Aziz’s home and found a bag with a Sig Sauer pistol alongside eight rounds of ammunition.
It belonged to Malik, who was seen in mobile phone footage holding the gun whilst wearing the same distinctive gloves he was wearing when he was arrested.
The identical twins’ DNA was also found on the gun.
CCTV at their home showed the two missing children before going missing. Detectives believe they were supplied with drugs for onward sale.
More than £2,000 in cash was seized from the address and the driving licence of a third man – Samir Mustafa – was also seized, along with a zombie knife.
Mustafa was identified as the person who drove the children to and from Hatfield in his Mercedes S Class car, whilst being disqualified.
Malik had earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply crack cocaine/heroin and possession of a firearm.
Omar had confessed to conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin.
Mustafa, 24, of Stone Street, Reading was also sentenced to two years and three months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply crack cocaine/heroin and driving whilst disqualified.
All three were hit with ten-year Criminal Behaviour Orders, with conditions which bar them from being in the company of anyone under the age of sixteen without the express permission of their parents or legal guardian.
The two children were not prosecuted and were instead referred to Children’s Services from respective local authorities.
Met Detective Constable Dec James said county line drug dealers often exploit “young and vulnerable” people because these people may be too scared to tell the police.
“I hope this sentence sends out a message that we will not tolerate the exploitation of children nor the supply of drugs,” he said.
“We will pursue those involved, irrespective of whether the victim assists the police or not.
“The additional recovery of a loaded firearm associated with these perpetrators reflects the intractable association between drug supply and violence.”