COUNTY lines drug dealing is a major line of police enquiry in the murder investigation following the stabbing of a teenager in broad daylight in a busy Leamington street.
A week on from the death of 17-year-old Nasir Patrice on Tachbrook Road on Wednesday January 15, police believe his killing could be connected to so-called county lines drug dealing – in which big city drug gangs target smaller towns where their members are not known to police.
Ch Supt Ben Smith from Warwickshire Police, said: “We are now in a position to confirm that one of our main lines of enquiry is that this incident was linked to county lines drug dealing which is a type of organised crime which can involve the exploitation of vulnerable people, including children, by drug gangs from bigger cities in order to sell drugs in smaller towns.
“This is a national issue faced by smaller counties such as Warwickshire, and tackling it while taking action against those believed to be involved in county lines remains a priority for Warwickshire Police.”
He added they were also continuing the hunt for a young black man, believed to have an injured leg, who was last seen Emscote Road in Warwick close to the junction with Fosberry Close around 11.30am – some 30 minutes after the stabbing.
Paramedics were quick to reach Nasir, who was from Birmingham, but he died at the scene, while an 18-year-old man, also from Birmingham, was taken to hospital with serious injuries. His condition was later reported to be stable.
A post mortem has confirmed Nasir died as a result of a stab wound to the chest. His family issued a statement saying they were “heartbroken”.
There have been four arrests in connection with the investigation – all of who have since been released on police bail while investigations are ongoing.
A 33-year-old man from Leamington, a 17-year-old boy from Coventry, and an 18-year-old man from Birmingham who was injured in the incident, were all arrested on suspicion of murder. An 18-year-old man from Birmingham was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.
Ch Supt Smith was keen to stress the force was doing all it could to reassure residents shocked by the stabbing on their doorstep.
Speaking from the scene on Wednesday, Ch Supt Smith said: “The public can expect to see a heightened police presence in and around the Tachbrook Road area as our officers conduct enquiries to try to identify further witnesses and offer reassurance to local residents.
“If you have any concerns or think you may have information that could help with our investigation, I would urge you to speak to one of our officers – any information you may have, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, could really help with our investigation.
“We are still searching for a young black male who we believe may have been involved in this incident. If you think you have seen this man or do see him, please get in touch.
Police remain keen to hear from anyone who witnessed the stabbing, have CCTV or dash cam footage of the area at around the time, saw something suspicious, or have any other information that could help the investigation.”
Call Warwickshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously via their website www.crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling 0800 555 111.