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Miekel Lambert has been jailed over a county lines operation in Bristol and Somerset after his arrest at Sedgemoor Services on the M5
A "sadistic" trafficker was caught after his victim fled from his car on the A38.
Miekel Lambert has been jailed for eight years and eight months after admitting he forced a woman to transport drugs in a county lines operation involving Bristol and parts of Somerset.
The 26-year-old, of Wolverhampton, pleaded guilty to modern slavery offences, coercive behaviour and being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs cocaine and heroin.
Judge Paul Cook sentenced him at Taunton Crown Court on July 17, describing his actions as "violent, sadistic and contemptuous".
Lambert's crimes came to light after his victim fled from his car when they stopped for fuel on the A38 on the evening of February 23.
She sought refuge at Almondsbury Sports and Social Club, where concerned staff and customers called police to help the terrified woman.
Lambert left the area, but he was arrested the following night at Sedgemoor Services on the M5.
He was part of a county line – a term for gangs who export drugs from big cities into smaller towns, using dedicated mobile phone lines or other forms of "deal line".
How the line worked
Police found Lambert forced the woman to make wraps of cocaine and heroin at addresses in Bristol, Wolverhampton and Bridgwater.
She was coerced into hiding the wraps inside her body while he trafficked her by car or train for drug deals in Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge.
In a statement read to the court, the woman said: “The feeling of paranoia and being trapped throughout, knowing Miekel Lambert and the things that he did to me, have left me feeling isolated.
"They prevent me from living my life to the full and I don’t know when things will truly get back to normal for me, if they ever will.
“Miekel had the opportunity to stop this for me at any point and end the trauma. Instead he prolonged this ordeal for as long as possible, simply to try and avoid justice.
"I am glad that this has been brought to an end but I feel this is only because Miekel would like to spare himself the ordeal.”
The officer in the case, DC Harvey Ahern, said Lambert was prepared to use violence to force his partner into acting as a drug courier.
He added: "Most importantly I want to thank the victim for showing such tremendous courage, and also the members of the public who came to her aid at the critical moment.
"Somerset CID, colleagues across the force and the Crown Prosecution Service have worked tirelessly to build a case against which Miekel Lambert could present no defence."
'Trapped and coerced'
DC Dave Allan, who also worked on the case, said: "I hope this demonstrates our commitment to supporting people affected by domestic abuse as well as the help we can offer to vulnerable people who feel trapped and coerced into drug crime.
"We hope this woman can now rebuild the life which was shattered by Miekel Lambert's crimes."
This is one of the first occasions in which a human trafficking conviction has been secured in a domestic abuse or county lines case in the Avon and Somerset policing area, and one of very few nationally.
Lambert was given a 30-year Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Order, which has a condition preventing him from entering Somerset.
It also places restrictions on his use of electronic devices and bans him from organising travel or booking accommodation for anyone else.
The Judge awarded Crown Court commendations to DCs Allan and Ahern for their work.
If you are affected by domestic abuse, or concerned about a friend or family member, you can find out more about the support available here.
For advice and support on drug misuse in Somerset visit this link or pass on information about drug crime here.
Alternatively ring the independent charity Crimestoppers 100 per cent anonymously on 0800 555 111. They never ask your name or trace your call.
Find out more about modern slavery and human trafficking, how to report it and the support available here.
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