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Man jailed for drugs and modern slavery offences

Tai Makessa
Tai Makessa

A 24-year-old man has been jailed after admitting to drug and modern slavery offences in which children were exploited to transport and sell drugs.

Tai Makessa, of Hepburn Road, Bristol, appeared at Bristol Crown Court on Thursday 18 April where he was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison.

The sentence comes after Makessa pleaded guilty to two counts of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs (crack cocaine and heroin) and one count of arranging or facilitating travel of another person with a view to exploit them.

Makessa was also handed a five-year Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Order and will be the subject of a Proceeds of Crimes (POCA) hearing.

The court heard how officers investigating the suspected trafficking of children from Luton, in London, to the South West discovered the teenagers were being trafficked with the purpose of being involved in class A drug supply between April 2022 and March 2023.

The court was also told how Makessa had been involved in transporting the children and adult to addresses for them to supply drugs.

During their investigation, they discovered that two teenage children had been trafficked from Luton to the South West to deal drugs. One teenage adult was also trafficked from one part of the South West to another.

As part of the investigation, another man was charged and subsequently jailed for being involved in drug supply.

Mohammed Sillah
Mohammed Sillah

Mohammed Sillah, aged 34 of Kings Meadow, in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, appeared alongside Makessa on the same day.

He had previously been found guilty at a trial in October last year at Gloucester Crown Court of two counts of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs (crack cocaine and heroin) and for being in possession of criminal property and cannabis.

Sillah was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison and will also be the subject of a POCA hearing.

A third offender, Harvey Worthington, aged 24 of no fixed address, was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court in August last year as part of the investigation.

He was handed a 22-month-long prison sentence which has been suspended for two years.

The sentence comes after he pleaded guilty to two counts of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs (heroin and crack cocaine) and two counts of possession with intent to supply crack cocaine and heroin.

DI Angela Burtonwood, from the County Lines Team in Op Remedy, said: “This has been a long, detailed investigation and I praise the hard work carried out by the County Lines Team to bring these men to justice.

“Drugs, and the crimes associated with them, have a significant impact on individuals, their families and the wider communities.

“We hope that this result provides reassurance to the community that we are dedicated in our effort to crack down on the plight of drug dealing in our area.

“The County Lines Team continues to target adults who use children and vulnerable people to traffic drugs across the country.”

Signs that someone is a victim of modern slavery could include:

  • Being locked in or restricted from leaving a property 
  • Signs of physical abuse 
  • Threats of harm to them and/or their families 
  • Lack of basic hygiene facilities 
  • Someone dropping off food parcels/takeaways 
  • Malnutrition 
  • CCTV monitoring around the property 
  • Withheld documents 

Victims of modern slavery are not benefitting from the crimes they are being forced to commit.

If you suspect this may be taking place in your neighbourhood, report the signs. You can report to us online or via 101, or you can make an anonymous report to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

To find out more, visit our website: Report modern slavery | Avon and Somerset Police and Support for victims of modern slavery | Avon and Somerset Police