A County Lines drug gang which supplied crack cocaine and heroin into North Devon has been brought to justice.

Hazret Avdyli was personally responsible for running the Gus line.Hazret Avdyli was personally responsible for running the Gus line.

The group, known as the 'Gus' line arranged the sales and prices of drugs from outside the area before passing details on to local couriers to complete transactions.

Operation Stone was launched by police to combat an influx of drugs from the capital into Devon between May and September 2017.

The operation found seized more than £5,000 worth of Class A drugs.

It also identified a vulnerable child who was a victim of modern-day slavery. The child was sent down to Devon by Hazret Avdyli, the man responsible for running the Gus drugs line, who was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on October 25.

Edwin Chance was jailed for two-and-a-half years.Edwin Chance was jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Following extensive intelligence work by detectives in North Devon, a number of arrests were made in late 2017 and early 2018 in relation to the County Lines gang.

Avdyli, aged 22, of Skinner Street, Gillingham, who was identified as 'Gus' and personally responsible for running the Gus drugs line, was sentenced on 25 October at Maidstone Crown Court.

He was jailed for six-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to offences of being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin in the North Devon area between May 1 and September 28 2017.

Four defendants, who had previously entered guilty pleas, were sentenced on Friday, September 13 at Exeter Crown Court.

Stephen Howells was sentenced to two years in prison.Stephen Howells was sentenced to two years in prison.

Edwin Chance, aged 59, of Mariners Close, Braunton, was jailed for two-and-a-half years for possession with intent to supply crack cocaine and heroin.

Stephen Howells, aged 42, of Oak Road, Okehampton, was sentenced to two years in prison for possession with intent to supply crack cocaine and supplying a controlled Class A drug.

Louise Woolston, aged 20, of Undershaw Road, Bromley, Kent, was handed a two-year prison term, suspended for two years, for possession with intent to supply crack cocaine and heroin. The offences occurred in Devon and Kent.

Stevie Watts, aged 43, of Ebberley Lawn, Barnstaple, was given a community order for allowing a premises to be used for the supply of heroin and crack cocaine.

Ajoun Clayton Jackson, aged 20, of no fixed abode, who was also part of the Gus line, was jailed for two years at Exeter Crown Court in September 2017 for possession with intent to supply heroin and crack cocaine.

Detective Constable Andrew Colley, from the North Devon Criminal Investigation Department, said: "This operation was a joint effort between many teams across the force including, financial investigators, intelligence officers and the force support group.

"All of whom played a hugely important role on securing these convictions and dismantling the 'Gus' drug network and continuing to make Devon a safer place to live.

"During the investigation, over £5,000-worth of Class A drugs was seized, however, more importantly, we also identified a vulnerable child who was sent down to Devon, by Avdyli, to deliver and deal on his behalf.

"They were quickly identified by detectives as a victim of modern-day slavery and the National Referral Mechanism completed to give immediate safeguarding to that child.

"This case should stand as a warning to those who believe Devon is an easy target to set up a drugs line due to its rural nature.

"We are extremely proud that we are one of the safest counties to live in and, regardless of where the drug operator bases themselves in the country, we will go up the chain of command to the root of the problem."