Members of a County Lines gang have been jailed for over 40 years after trafficking a 15-year-old autistic schoolboy from London to Wales to work as their drugs runner.
The five dealers repeatedly ignored the starving teen's requests for food, Kingston Crown Court heard.
Meanwhile, one of the leaders was found with stacks of cash in his house when he was arrested, and even enjoyed a lavish holiday to Dubai with his girlfriend at one stage while the boy was starving.
The gang sold cocaine and heroin between January 23 and October 1 last year through two drugs lines branded Gino and Gino 2.
It was only when the teen they trafficked went missing from his north London home for two weeks and was found at a Swansea address that the gang were tracked down.
Kenneth Langrish, 36, was first arrested on 6 October and was found with 125 packages of crack cocaine in his underpants.
Investigators found text messages from the desperate teenager which read: "Can't lie I'm hungry" and "I’m broke bro I haven’t eaten since yesterday", after which he was cruelly ignored.
Another gang member, Ayyub Elaouzi, 22, was arrested on September 16 last year.
Several of the gang went on the run after the teenager was found in squalor in Swansea on September 25.
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Jemy Capitao, 28, was found in bed with his girlfriend in a hotel in Milton Keynes on October 1 last year, after they had enjoyed a summer holiday to Dubai with the money they made.
Officers found £2,910 in cash in the hotel room which had been wedged into the kettle handle.
Harvey Kimpton, 21, was arrested after a Gucci box containing a 22-calibre pistol was found at his address in Harlow, Essex.
Capitao of Llanelli, south Wales, admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs, possessing criminal property and one count of arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploit.
He was jailed for 12 years.
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His brother Basky Capitao, 27, of Waltham Cross, Herts, was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploit.
He was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment.
Kimpton, of Harlow, Essex, admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and possessing a prohibited firearm, as well as two counts of possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply.
He was also jailed for 11 years.
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Elaouzi, of Waltham Cross, admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and one count of arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploit.
He was sentenced to eight years and four months’ imprisonment.
Harry King, 20, of Hertford, Herts, was found guilty of arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploit.
He was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, suspended for two years.
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Langrish admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and one count of arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploit. He had previously pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.
He will be sentenced on a date to be fixed.
Thea Viney, from the CPS, said: "These drug dealers worked hand in hand and trafficked a vulnerable teenager from London to Wales.
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"They intended to exploit him as a drugs runner and had no consideration for his welfare as was evident from the poor condition of the address he was found at.
"To this day the young victim has never supplied a statement to support the investigation which, unfortunately, is a common feature of cases of this nature.
"The prosecution was able to present evidence of the close association between these defendants through clear phone analysis despite the use of Nokia burner phones."
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Detective Constable Ben Baker, the investigating officer from Operation Orochi, said: "County lines drug dealers exploit young and vulnerable people to facilitate their drug supply.
"They hope that by using vulnerable children as drugs runners they will shield themselves from identification and prosecution by law enforcement.
"This is because frequently, these exploited persons are too scared to assist the police.
"We hope this case will discourage future gangs from using children as drugs runners by showing that it isn’t any barrier to their prosecution.’
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