THREE men have been sentenced to a total of 12 years and 4 months imprisonment for drug supply offences in Wiltshire.

Offences include taking over an address in Wilton at knifepoint, and one of the men also produced a package containing £750 "from his bottom", after more than 31 hours in police custody.

Faruq Gafow, 20, from Kent, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment and banned from Salisbury for eight years after pleading guilty to being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin in Salisbury and Gloucester.Salisbury Journal: Faruq GafowFaruq Gafow

Omar Ibrahim, 20, from London was sentenced to five years imprisonment for being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin in Salisbury.

Leandro Silva, 19, also from London, was sentenced to four months imprisonment for concealing criminal property.

He was also banned from Salisbury for five years.

The investigation began on May 11, 2018, when Gafow was arrested on suspicion of dealing class A drugs in Salisbury.

Plain clothed officers had observed Gafow along with others in Greencroft play park interacting with a suspected class A drug user.

An hour later officers witnessed another class A drug user engaged in a suspected drug deal with Gafow.

When he saw officers, Gafow attempted to run away.

He was arrested and then gave false details.

He was found with £50 cash which was suspected to have been money from the sale of crack and heroin.

A nearby address of a vulnerable class A drug user was suspected to have been taken over by Gafow using a practise known as cuckooing.

This address was searched and officers located 47 individual street deals of crack cocaine and heroin along with a ‘drugs line’ mobile phone which was found to have sent out messages to Salisbury drug users advertising drugs for sale.

Gafow was released while enquiries continued and next came to police attention in Gloucester involved in similar activities.

Gafow returned to Salisbury in March 2019 and continued to supply class A drugs to local users.

He was seen in Victoria Park and then found several days later at an address in Essex Square, Harnham where class A drugs were recovered.

On both of these occasions he was with others, including Ibrahim and a juvenile who had been reported missing from Kent.

He was next arrested on April 8, 2019, at an address in Wilton Road where he was found with Ibrahim and Silva.

Salisbury Journal: Leandro SilvaLeandro Silva

They had taken over the address of vulnerable class A drug users at knifepoint in order to sell crack and heroin from the address.

All were arrested. Silva was believed to have items concealed on his person and was observed by officers in custody for 31 hours before producing a package containing £750 from his bottom.

Enquiries revealed that Ibrahim purchased the ‘drugs line’ phone in London after the earlier phone was seized by police.

Gafow pleaded guilty to all charges while Silva pleaded guilty to concealing £750 internally which he accepted was the proceeds of crime.

Ibrahim pleaded not guilty to all charges but was found guilty after a five day trial at Salisbury Crown Court.

Salisbury Journal: Omar IbrahimOmar Ibrahim

Sgt David Hambly said: “This investigation shows that Wiltshire Police take a very robust approach to tackling Dangerous Drugs Networks.

"These networks are a chain of exploitation from beginning to end, with vulnerable drugs users being targeted and coerced into running drugs and having their homes taken over, often as in this case, through the threat of force and use of weapons.

“Crack cocaine and heroin destroy lives and blight entire communities and I hope that these sentences send a strong message to anyone who might think Wiltshire and Swindon is an attractive target for their criminality that this is not the case.

"We are not a soft target and we will continue to target these individuals and investigate their activities until they are brought to justice.

"I would also like to commend a witness in this case who showed real courage in assisting police in this investigation and giving evidence in court after they had been subjected to threats with weapons and had their home taken over.

“We will continue to work tirelessly to protect the most vulnerable in our communities and I would urge anyone who suspects their neighbours may be being subjected to cuckooing to report it to police. Such reports are treated with the utmost discretion.”