Britain’s interior minister, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, announced Sunday a plan to cut off supply chain of drugs to villages, market towns and seaside resorts across the country.
Drug gangs in big cities have turned to rural England as a new lucrative market worth millions of U.S. dollars a year, a government report revealed Sunday, saying children are being used as couriers of drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine.
Rudd has proposed a way of cutting the supply chain, by wining powers to switch off the network of mobile phones used for the drug deals between city-based drug gangs and their rural supply routes.
The gangs use contract-free cellphones as a way of avoiding being traced by police enforcers.
The “secret” cellphones generate an income estimated at more than 2.5 million dollars every week.
Under the new powers being sought by Rudd, police enforcers will be able to shut down the phone lines, known as “county lines” to halt the lucrative market.
A Home Office spokesman said the phone lines operations involve urban dealers expanding their crack and heroin business into small town markets, operating remotely through the use of specific mobile phone numbers.
“The gangs exploit children and vulnerable people as couriers to move drugs and money between the new market and their urban hub,” said the spokesman.
A recent report by the National Crime Agency (NCA) into the “county lines” found that over 70 percent of police forces in England and Wales are now reporting such activity within their area.
Tony Saggers, NCA Head of Drugs Threat and Intelligence said “Urban street gangs operating under the ‘county lines’ model have become a nationwide problem.” Enditem