Police hail sentencing of drug gang members after teen exploited

Terry Coogan and Leonardo Cardoso

Terry Coogan, 32, and Leonardo Cardoso, 22, were involved in a county lines operation which saw a 14-year-old boy store crack cocaine and heroin in a teddy bear. - Credit: Norfolk Police

Police have welcomed prison sentences for two men involved in a county lines operation in Norwich.

Terry Coogan, 32, and Leonardo Cardoso, 22, played significant roles in the drugs network which saw a 14-year-old exploited for financial gain.

The two men, from Basildon and Brazil respectively, were sentenced in Norwich Crown Court on Tuesday for the supply of crack cocaine and heroin from November 2019 to February 2020, as well as two counts of trafficking. 

The court heard how the teenager hid crack and heroin in one of his teddy bears. 

Coogan was sentenced for nine years and eight months inside while Cardoso received six years. 

Detective constable Angela Tolson, who worked on the investigation, welcomed the sentences. 

She said: "It reflects the seriousness of these offences and signals the end of a prolonged investigation into an organised crime group who exploited vulnerable people for their own financial gain.

“This is the perfect example of how a county line operates and isn’t the first case in Norfolk where we have secured a prosecution under modern slavery laws.

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“The use of modern slavery legislation is an important aspect of targeting those criminal networks who exploit vulnerable children and adults within communities for their own financial gain.

"This conviction sends a clear message that we will utilise all legislation available to us nationally to stop county lines drug dealing and pursue offenders.”

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