Home London News Child ‘could not wash, brush teeth, and lost weight’ while trafficked for drugs

Child ‘could not wash, brush teeth, and lost weight’ while trafficked for drugs

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Xavion Benson

Xavion Benson, 22, trafficked a teenage boy to sell drugs across drug lines between London and Clacton. He was sentenced to 67 months in prison, and handed a ‘trafficking prevention order’ for 7 years. Co-defendant Ryan Arrowsmith was sentenced to 51 months in prison and given a similar Criminal Behaviour Order for 7 years.

The teenage boy was forced to live in squalor with no freedom to wash himself or eat, and it was clear he had lost significant weight while being a drug runner.

Benson spearheaded drug lines between 2021-2022, supplying Class A drugs in the Clacton area. The teenager was originally promised nearly £3k for his ‘work’, but was never paid. The Met launched an investigation when the boy was reported missing by his parents.

The investigation revealed Benson was actually a ‘drill’ rapper, and openly bragged about using young boys to sell drugs. A second man, Ryan Arrowsmith also became identified as being significantly involved in the drug lines, broadcasting mass-marketing messages advertising “fat deals 2 for 15 3 for 25 freebies for numbers”.

Benson was arrested at his home in London, and when police entered the property they found him trying to flush drugs down the toilet to hide evidence. More than £2000 worth of drugs was still recovered. His conviction, under the Modern Slavery Act, is the first of its kind in Essex.

Ryan Arrowsmith
Ryan Arrowsmith

Detective Inspector James Healy, of the serious violence unit, said: “County lines gangs not only target vulnerable people in our communities, but they also target and groom vulnerable children to carry out their work.

Xavion Benson
Xavion Benson in his music video

“This is trafficking and exploitation; nothing less. It is a disgusting crime, and we were determined to pursue a conviction under the Modern Slavery Act given the impact Benson’s actions have had on both the young boy and his family.

“This is the first conviction of its type in Essex, and I am extremely proud of the team for the tireless work they have put into identifying the people responsible, arresting them and putting them before the court. It is also a testament to the officer in this case that she was not content with the drugs conviction for Benson.

“She identified the further harm his actions caused to the boy and his family and relentlessly pursued a modern slavery conviction.” DI Healy added: “Both Benson and Arrowsmith were responsible for the supply of Class A drugs on our streets.

“We do not tolerate that in Essex. They were unaware of the highly sophisticated investigation being carried out into their behaviour and when our strikes came in March, the evidence against them was already overwhelming and they have had no option but to admit their guilt in front of the courts.

“But they are being duped. Very sadly these children soon find out the reality is nothing like the promise. Instead, they often go missing for long periods of time, creating terror for their parents who have no idea where they are.

“The children will stay in squalor conditions with little or no food and drink as they work to earn money for the gang elders.” PC Turner added: “In this case, I am so glad that we were able to work alongside our Met colleagues to save this boy from gang life to allow he and his family to build a future away from people like Benson and Arrowsmith.”

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