On 17 September 2020, after being caught in Cyrpus and returned to England, Artouros Kotsinian aged 33 from Beakes Road, Smethwick, West Midlands, was charged with conspiring to supply a class A controlled drug – crack cocaine, conspiring to supply a class A controlled drug – heroin and two counts of possessing a knife blade/sharp pointed article in a public place.
On 2 November Kotsinian pleaded guilty and was sentenced at Worcester Crown Court to 39 months in prison for all offences.
Kotsinian pleaded guilty following an investigation in 2018 in which nine men were sentenced for their roles in County Lines drug dealing in the Wyre Forest area. Detectives were able to locate Kotsinian who had fled the country and return him to the UK where he is was charged.
Detective Inspector Martin Brown said: “This was a lengthy investigation led by the North Worcestershire Integrated Offender Management (IOM) Team which saw officers carry out a series of proactive interventions where seizures and arrests were made.
“A number of these incidents were aggravated through dangerous driving, offenders failing to stop for police, damage being caused to police vehicles as well as the recovery of knives from offenders’ vehicles.
“A significant seizure of class A drugs was also made, preventing a possible large-scale county lines supply developing within our county.
“A further prison term for this gang sends a clear message we will hunt down those responsible wherever they may be for exploiting our young and vulnerable people. We will pursue you and we will extradite you if you flee the country and bring you back to face justice.”
“We will do whatever is necessary to disrupt organised crime networks and break County Lines ruining lives.”
This conviction comes while West Mercia Police continues to carry out Protect – a campaign being run alongside a range of partner agencies to tackle serious and organised crime (SOC).
The broad-ranging operation covers four key areas of activity:
Pursue – prosecuting and disrupting those involved in SOC
Prevent – stopping individuals from becoming involved in SOC
Protect – increased levels of protection against SOC
Prepare – reducing the impact of SOC where it occurs
Further information about the Protect campaign can be found here.
Detective Inspector Martin Brown added “I would like to remind young people concerned about County Lines who do not wish to talk to police there are other options available. Information can be passed anonymously to Fearless, an organisation dedicated to young people which has a host of information and advice. These concerns can be reported online.