Man who advertised cocaine and heroin via text among dealers …
Dealers who have peddled drugs across Dudley have been locked up for almost 30 years. Police have detained a number of people in connection with suspected county lines networks over the past 10 months.
Officers have targeted 14 county lines - where mobile phones are used to transport and supply drugs from one area to another. The drugs are often stored or moved by children and other vulnerable people coerced by criminal gangs.
Seven defendants have already been convicted of these drug-related crimes in Dudley, receiving jail terms reaching almost 30 years. West Midlands Police said 14 others have been charged and are waiting for their trials or to be sentenced.
It comes as the force launches Operation Target, which will focus on serious and organised crime including drug dealing, burglary, cyber-crime and fraud across the West Midlands. It will see officers working alongside other forces and the Regional Organised Crime Unit.
Sergeant Rich Galbraith, from the Serious Organised Crime team at Dudley Police, said: "County Lines drug gangs run highly organised and sometimes sophisticated set-ups so we have to be methodical and joined-up in our approach to tackling them. We’ve worked together across different departments and disciplines throughout the force, linking in with the County Lines Taskforce as well as response, traffic and neighbourhood teams.
"It’s been a collective effort and we’re hitting these gangs where it hurts – disrupting their trade and taking their drugs out of circulation, and making arrests and putting the perpetrators behind bars." In Dudley, police have identified new county lines for investigation.
Enforcement such as surveillance, as well as stops and searches has led to the conviction and imprisonment of several offenders. Sgt Galbraith added: "County Lines drug dealers care nothing for the destructive effect their actions have on the lives of the people they exploit nor for the damaging impact on the communities in which they ply their trade.
"Their only concern is profit, which they chase ruthlessly no matter the hurt caused to others. But we’re equally relentless in our pursuit and we’ll continue to coordinate our efforts against them.
"This includes working with members of the public and we’re grateful to them too for the support they provide in helping us to identify County Line gangs acting in their neighbourhoods We’re determined to bring down these so-called businesses wherever we find them operating."
A number of people have been jailed for their involvement in county lines. Ibrar Hussain was jailed for four years and six months after peddling drugs from his home in Washwood Heath, Birmingham, to Stourbridge via the 'ACE' line.
He sent out bulk messages to more than 90 people, advertising cocaine and heroin for sale. Zaine Hussain also sent 'bulk' texts advertising class A drugs for sale.
He targeted users in Dudley, with police believing he supplied just under half a kilo of class A drugs. He was sentenced to four years, six months in jail.
- ^ Dudley (www.birminghammail.co.uk)
- ^ West Midlands Police (www.birminghammail.co.uk)
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- ^ Ibrar Hussain (www.birminghammail.co.uk)
- ^ Zaine Hussain (www.birminghammail.co.uk)