FALSE IMPRISONMENT, blackmail, drugs supply and money laundering - these are some of the crimes that five people have been convicted for committing across Slough and Maidenhead.

The five people, aged between 19 and 28, were all trialled at Reading Crown Court, which concluded the jury verdict on Friday, September 10.

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The convictions relate to two incidents taking place on April 22 and December 5, 2020, where two victims were coerced into dealing class A drugs for a gang based out of west London, which had been branching out into the Home Counties, using County Drugs Lines.

The drug dealers were, on occasions, held against their will and subjected to violent threats. In the first incident in April, both victims sustained actual-bodily-harm level injuries, while in the second incident, one of the victims was subjected to threats of violence, but was otherwise unhurt.

Royal Borough Observer:

Lennon Gomes, aged 22, of Shaftesbury Avenue, Feltham, was found guilty by unanimous jury verdict of three counts of false imprisonment, two counts of blackmail, and two counts of conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine.

He also pleaded guilty to one count of possession of cannabis in a trial The offences were against two separate victims.

Mustafa Mohamud, aged 27, of Cottage Road, Islington, was found guilty of one count of money laundering.

Anne-Marie Garland, aged 19, of Aylsham Close, Reading, was convicted of one count of encouraging the commission of offences.

Syed Shah, aged 22, of Priory Green, Islington, was found guilty of two counts of false imprisonment and two counts of conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine.

Naveed Mahmood, aged 28, of Basildene Road, Hounslow, was found guilty of one count of false imprisonment and one count of blackmail against one victim.

Shah was charged on 23 December 2020, Mahmood on 22 January 2021, Gomes on 12 February, Mohamud on 9 April and Garland on 12 April.

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Investigating officer Detective Constable Rob Gibson, based at Maidenhead police station, said: “This string of offences against two young victims, who were effectively groomed into a life of crime, were utterly horrendous.

“Both victims were vulnerable young men, and were coerced into drug dealing by an organised crime group intent on bringing their drugs into the Thames Valley.

“After a trial, all five offenders were convicted by unanimous jury verdict of various offences, and they will now be sentenced accordingly.

“We are committed to removing the serious issue of drug dealing from our communities, making the Thames Valley a hostile place for county lines dealers.

“They often target the most vulnerable people in our society, and all five will now be sentenced accordingly.”

Gomes, Mahmood, Mohamud, Garland and Shah will return to Reading Crown Court for sentencing on 29 October.