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County line gangs are using Snapchat as their main tool to lure teenagers


Napchat is the primary tool used by gangs to recruit children features of the district drug gangs, police warned on Thursday after they seized £1 million drugs in overdrive.

Teenagers are lured with offers of cash, mobile phones, e-vapes and clothes in messages sent on the app and other social media platforms, then delivered cocaine, heroin and cannabis. London to smaller towns and cities.

Snapchat allows users to share text, images, and videos that disappear after they’ve been viewed. Detective Chief Inspector Dan Mitchell, head of Scotland Yard’s district task force, said officers were visiting classrooms to urge children to reject messages similar to those sent out by drug dealers asking “who wants to make £500 this weekend?”.

He told the Standard: “With county lines, we’re seeing Snapchat as one of the primary recruitment tools. It is difficult for the police to deal with this. But we work with schools to build resilience in young people. It’s the way forward, giving them the knowledge to understand it is a trap.”

DCI Mitchell spoke out after the Met launched a week-long operation against gangs in the county. A total of 222 suspects were arrested and 177 vulnerable young people were protected across London during the stepped-up operation, which ended on Sunday.

More than 100 people were charged with supplying 8.3kg of class A drugs and 37.6kg of class B drugs worth a total of £1 million. Five firearms, 51 knives, machetes and swords, as well as £652,214 in cash, were seized during Operation Orochi, which saw 77 drug-trafficking operations shut down from the capital.

Malik Aziz and twin Omar were convicted of delivering drugs worth £30,000 a week to Hatfield

/ YouTube

Meanwhile, a drug dealer who used social networks to recruit teenagers is threatened with imprisonment. 24-year-old rapper Drill Malik Aziz, also known as 9 Milly – slang for a 9mm handgun – bragged about his child-exploiting drug operation on the YouTube track ‘Reborn’ and went on ‘artillery shopping’ for guns.

A video of him and twin brother Omar cruising around south London in a green Lamborghini, making gun signs and spraying each other with champagne, remains on the platform with 27,000 views.

He talks about being “revived” after being released from HMP Isis in Thamesmead for a previous crime and says he won’t be caught again because he has “two kids changing”.

Kingston Royal Court heard Malik, of Stretham, looked after two boys, aged 14 and 15, and ran a £30,000-a-week drug ring in Hertfordshire with Omar, 24, and Samir Mustafa, from Reading. Their parents reported the disappearance of London teenagers in January of last year. Both were found in Hatfield at an address that has been seized for drug distribution – a process known as ‘cuckooing’. The police detained Omar and Malik Aziz at their home. Malik’s phone, which monitored the Hatfield line, was confiscated.

Rapper Drill Malik Aziz, 24, also known as 9 Miley, left, and twin brother Omar

/ Metropolitan police

In the bedroom, officers found a SIG Sauer self-loading pistol, eight rounds of ammunition, a zombie knife and £2,000 in cash. Brothers Aziz and Mustafa pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin. Malik Aziz admitted possessing a firearm and Mustafa admitted driving a Mercedes while disqualified from transporting children to and from Hatfield. All three will be sentenced on March 23.

The teenage boys were not prosecuted, but were referred to children’s services and a city-funded rescue and response program that has a 90 percent success rate in helping under-25s leave gangs.

Detective Constable Declan James, who led the investigation, said: “The drill music was used to glorify their criminal activities and Malik’s online presence allowed him to be seen as a local celebrity. This may be a factor in the willingness of children to work for him.

“Drug dealers in the counties are exploiting young and vulnerable people to facilitate their drug supply. They hope that by using them as drug distributors, they will protect themselves from identification and prosecution by law enforcement. This is because often these exploited people are too scared to help the police.

“I hope this result sends a clear signal that we will not tolerate child exploitation or drug supply.

“The additional recovery of loaded firearms associated with these criminals reflects the intractable link between drug supply and violence.”

24-year-old rapper Drill Malik Aziz, also known as 9 Miley, has spoken out about not getting caught again because he has ‘two kids changing’

/ YouTube

Since Op Orochi’s inception in 2019, 1,285 drug rings have been shut down and 800 dealers jailed, representing a 94 percent conviction rate.

DCI Mitchell has released figures which may point to the reason why London’s murder and teenage homicide rates have fallen so dramatically. Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has ordered officers to take a “proactive approach to reducing crime” as a heavy reliance on stop and frisk “burns through trust” in ethnic communities.

Of the sample of 320 suspects arrested in the county operations, 80 percent were previously known to the police for violence. Fifty percent of runners have been arrested for carrying knives in the past.

Fourteen murders were recorded in London between January 1 and March 6 this year, compared to 23 for the same period in 2021, the worst on record.

Fortunately, there were no teenagers killed in 2023. By March 2021, eight young people had been killed in street violence across the capital.

Snapchat said: “Using Snapchat to buy or sell drugs is illegal and strictly against our policies. We are actively looking for drug trafficking and people can report it in the app.

“When we become aware of such behaviour, we take it down and take appropriate action, including working with the police to support investigations. We also meet regularly with security experts to understand emerging drug trends, including the terminology gangs may be using.”


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