Man jailed for trafficking boy, 15, cross country to deal drugs in Weston
- Credit: Avon and Somerset Constabulary
A drug dealer who trafficked a 15-year-old boy to Weston to exploit him as a drug runner has been sentenced to seven years and two months in prison.
Emad El-Haddad, 22, of Gloucester Terrace in Westminster, admitted possessing crack cocaine and heroin with intent to supply and arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploit on the first day of his trial at Taunton Crown Court on September 2.
He is also subject to a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act and a 10-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 bar him from travelling to the Avon and Somerset policing area.
Joshua Weldon, Avon and Somerset police's designated investigating officer in the case, said: "Exploiting children to sell drugs is despicable. It puts children at risk and causes heartache for families and carers who fear the worst when their child goes missing.
"We welcome the court's decision to impose a 10-year STPO in this case. El-Haddad must not be allowed to put any other child at risk for his dirty profit.
"The court has also accepted an application under the Proceeds of Crime Act which means that El-Haddad must forfeit any assets he can't account for up to £2,400, based on the value of the drugs seized.
"El-Haddad had to admit his guilt due to the weight of evidence against him thanks to the close collaboration between our two police services."
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The investigation began in January 8 when the teenager was reported missing from his London home.
Joint enquiries by the Met and Avon and Somerset Police led to the boy being found in Weston on January 14, in possession of crack cocaine and heroin with a street value of £2,000.
The drugs were in packages concealed in his underpants and he also had a phone and coach tickets. Forensic investigation established that El-Haddad had handled the drugs recovered from the child.
El-Haddad was arrested from his home later the same day. Various mobile phones found at his address included one known as the 'Reece line', used to advertise drugs to users based in Weston.
Detectives also found evidence showing that El-Haddad arranged accommodation for the boy, directed his activities as a drug runner and would not let him contact his family in case this alerted the police.