Man in jail for murder convicted of heading-up County Lines drug chain

A MAN serving life behind bars for ordering a drug rival’s murder was on June 27 given an extra nine years for trafficking Class A drugs.

Artaf Hussain, from Slater Street in Tipton, was handed a life jail term last August for ordering the fatal stabbing of a man in Hereford after he had clashed with one of his street dealers.

Hussain and the knifeman, Anthony Boyd, were found guilty of murder and locked-up for at least 25 years.

On June 27, he was handed a nine-year prison term after admitting to being the head of a County Lines chain that supplied up to £300,000 of Class A drugs in Hereford from the Black Country.

The sentence will run concurrently to his life term.

Detectives from the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit along with the Hereford neighbourhood police launched a covert operation into the ‘Scooby’ narcotics line as it was known, and they identified Hussain as the line’s lynchpin. He used at least 16 different phones to coordinate drug deliveries by his County Lines couriers in Hereford.

West Midlands Police Detective Inspector Julie Woods is overseeing Operation Ballet, the joint campaign between the West Mercia and West Midlands forces targeting county lines.

She said: “Our investigation suggested Hussain was moving drugs into Hereford on a daily basis – but following a previous arrest in 2016 he was reluctant to get hands-on so instead used West Midlands-based runners to courier drugs on his behalf.

“The level of violence he was prepared to use in order to protect his drugs line was evidenced in the shocking stabbing of a man in Hereford in broad daylight.

“The drugs conviction may not add any more time to his jail sentence but it does now give us the opportunity to scrutinise his accounts and dealings – and to seize any cash or assets accrued through drug dealing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.”