A Bath man has been jailed for more than six years after trafficking and forcing a 15-year-old boy into drug dealing.
Solomon Brown, 23 of Snow Hill, Bath, was sentenced today (Friday 17 February) at Bristol Crown Court for being concerned in the supply of class A drugs, namely heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine and for acquiring and possessing criminal property.
Brown was additionally sentenced two modern day slavery offences of requiring a person to perform forced or compulsory labour and arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with the view of exploitation.
He was also sentenced for possession with intent to supply cannabis and being in possession of an offensive weapon in a private place.
Brown was jailed for six-and-a-half years and was handed a seven-year Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Order (STPO). The terms of the order include strict conditions on his access to a mobile phone, prevent him from arranging travel or accommodation for any person under the age of 18 except for immediate family members and bans him from having unsupervised contact with a juvenile.
A second man, Aaron Gardiner, 21 of The Oval, Bath, was also handed a custodial sentence of three years and four months to be served at a young offenders’ institution for being concerned in the supply of class A drugs, namely heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine and for acquiring and possessing criminal property.
The charges come after a series of simultaneous warrants which were carried out on Tuesday 15 November in Snow Hill, Bath.
Several people were arrested as part of the warrant, including Brown and Gardiner.
Following the warrants, evidence was found which proved Brown had been exploiting others to deal drugs for him. This included a 15-year-old boy trafficked to Bath from elsewhere in the country. The victim was held in servitude to deal drugs for the drug line.
The child was safeguarded and offered support throughout the investigation.
Brown also had multiple weapons in his possession, including machetes and knuckle dusters.
At Gardiner’s address, a large volume of cash and drugs were seized.
In total, officers seized £1,020 of crack cocaine, £510 of heroin, £6,410 of cocaine and almost £10,000 in cash.
Five other individuals linked to the case were arrested and some remain under investigation.
Officer in the case, PC Christopher Cook, said: “Exploiting children to sell drugs is disgraceful. We can never fully understand the significant impact these events have had on the young person.
“We welcome the court’s decision to impose the STPO on Brown and this will stop him from putting another child at risk to benefit his own agenda once he is released.
“The sentences handed to Brown and Gardiner reflects the magnitude of the crimes they have committed, and I would like to think the length of the sentences received will resonate with those involved or about to become involved in drug supply.
“I hope the community of Snow Hill see the impact of the action taken to tackle drug supply in the area.
“I would like to encourage the public to continue supplying the police with information to assist us in tackling county lines and drug supply within the other communities in Avon and Somerset.”
If you suspect someone in your community is using, dealing or growing drugs, report it to us.
If you think someone you know is being exploited, or could be a victim of modern slavery, or suspect someone in your community could be committing modern slavery offences, please report it to us via our Contact Centre or online.