Notorious Leeds Flock gang member and aspiring rap artist preyed on teenagers to run 'county lines' drug operation while on licence from jail

It is almost five years since Lavite Manaka received his first lengthy prison sentence for drug dealing.

By Tony Gardner
Friday, 17th December 2021, 11:45 am
Updated Friday, 17th December 2021, 4:38 pm

His original downfall was partly a result of his own vanity, arrogance and an inability to resist boasting about his criminal exploits.

Manaka, then aged 20, was locked up for six years in 2017 after pleading guilty to a drug supply conspiracy in which he was the ringleader in charge of a 24-hour ‘ring and bring’ dealer line.

Months before his arrest in 2016, the aspiring rap artist appeared in a music video performing at a flat which he used as a 'drugs factory' to package crack cocaine and heroin to sell on the streets of Leeds.

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Lavite Manaka appeared in rap video in 2016 standing outside in house in Gipton where drugs were stored. Manaka is now back in prison for running a 'county lines' drug dealing operation between Leeds and Humberside.

Manaka - performing as Levz Montana - featured in the video filmed outside the flat on Wykebeck Valley Road, Gipton, which was used as a base for the illegal operation.

Performing his song, called Designers, Manaka is filmed in front of the one-bedroom property.

Song lyrics boast about drugs and cash.

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Lavite Manaka was jailed for seven years at Leeds Crown Court.

At the start of the video he makes the distinctive 'F' signal with his right hand, a reference to his loyalty to the Leeds-based 'Flock' crime gang.

Previous Leeds Crown Court cases have heard how, unlike most gangs, Flock members "openly advertise" their involvement in the class A drugs trade and use of firearms.

The kudos and status they crave is often reflected in posts on social media of members posing in front of flash cars and with bags of designer clothes.

Rap music also forms part of the gang's culture.

Images recovered from Lavite Manaka's mobile phone showed him with cash made from county lines drug dealing operation.

During the videos Manaka appears to smoke cannabis and waves a wad of £20 notes.

Armed police searched the house in Gipton and seized heroin and crack cocaine which had been packaged into individual wraps inside bun cases.

Officers discovered a ‘drug dealer kit’ which was used to prepare and package drugs.

A food blender, mixing bowl, ice cream scoop and latex gloves were all contaminated with the drugs.

Lavite Manaka boasted about his criminal activity on social media.

People calling Manaka's number were able to arrange round-the-clock delivery.

Manaka sent a message to his customers stating: “It’s Rico - I’m back. I’ll be on 24/7.”

At Manaka's sentencing hearing in February 2017, Judge Tom Bayliss QC told him: "You are a highly sophisticated drugs trafficker with a large supply network.

“You could arrange quick delivery of your wares to your customers.

“I am quite sure you were in control of the operation.”

Soon after his release from prison on licence, Manaka quickly set about establishing a new organised criminal network.

This time he relied on vulnerable teenage boys to do his bidding as he set up a 'county lines' drug supply operation between Leeds and Humberside.

Police uncovered a trail of evidence that demonstrated that he was controlling four boys, as young as 14, between February and May 2020.