TWO brothers were jailed for a combined total of 17 years for supplying drugs and exploiting children after a county lines investigation.

Lofti Smatti, 26, and Samy Smatti, 22, from London, had manipulated two teenagers from Gwent.

They were brought to justice after a joint investigation involving Gwent Police, the Metropolitan Police and Thames Valley Police.

The defendants were locked up at Woolwich Crown Court after they pleaded guilty to a raft of offences.

They included conspiracy to supply crack cocaine, conspiracy to supply heroin, facilitating the travel of another with a view to him/her being exploited and possession of cannabis.

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Operation Pinebank was an investigation, led by Gwent Police, which involved the exploitation of the two children from Gwent by a London-based organised crime group to supply class A drugs in the Ipswich area.

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Lofti Smatti

Following sentence, Detective Inspector Emma Coopey said: “Our investigation uncovered a county line in operation where the Smatti brothers – Lofti and Samy – were recruiting vulnerable people, including children, to supply crack and heroin around the country.

“Two of the vulnerable people exploited by the Smattis were children from the Gwent area.

“Working together with other partner agencies, we carried out warrants in Aylesbury, Chepstow, Cwmbran and London as part of Operation Pinebank.

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Samy Smatti

“The Smatti brothers were arrested by the Metropolitan Police as part of this day of action in November 2020.

“These men were profiting from an illegal trade that often leads to other forms of criminal activity.

“Not only does this cause harm and misery within communities, these two were placing young, vulnerable people at the direct risk of harm in order to supply class A drugs.

“These significant sentences show that we will work closely with our policing and safeguarding partners to ensure that we take robust action to prevent the exploitation of children for criminal enterprises.

“We will gather evidence on the people responsible for it and bring them before the courts to face justice for their actions.”

Samy Smatti was jailed for nine years and Lofti Smatti for eight years.

The pair will re-appear in court on Thursday, June 16 for a slavery and trafficking risk order hearing.

County lines is a term used to describe a drugs gang who often exploit children and vulnerable people to move drugs and money from one area to another.

If you’re a young person who is worried about being involved in county lines, or knows someone who is, you can speak to an adult and let them know how you feel.

You can also contact who allow you to pass on information about crime anonymously.

You can also contact Childline on 0800 1111 – they are a private and confidential service where you can talk to counsellors about anything that is worrying you.