A man has been sentenced to ten years in prison after selling heroin and crack cocaine to drug users in Dudley. 

Mohammed Sheikh, aged 28, of New Birmingham Road, Dudley, was found to be running a county lines drug operation in the area known as the 'Sandy' line. 

The discovery came following enquiries into drug lines and dealers in the area in December 2021 when Dudley neighbourhood officers referred a phone line suspected to be the source of a major operation to the County Lines Task Force for further investigation. 

Analysis of the line showed bulk messages being sent to a large amount of numbers referencing 'Sandy' and advertising drugs for sale. 

Sheikh, who was living in Birmingham at the time, was believed to be behind the operation as he made a top-up purchase for the phone in November 2021 but the number was dropped shortly afterwards. 

Several months later, in June 2022, Sheikh was stopped in Dudley and detained for a drugs search. Whilst no drugs were found, he had a mobile phone which contained deleted bulk messages advertising class A drugs for sale and using the name 'Sandy'. 

Another Sandy drugs line number was identified in December 2022 and was activated just six days after Sheikh was searched in June. Police also identified a regular pattern of movement between Sheik's then home in Birmingham and Dudley. 

Police identified another phone Sheikh was using as belonging to his girlfriend, Sapphire Edwards.

The 33-year-old's phone was linked to the latest drugs line and movement around a Dudley address suspected to be associated with drug dealing and where she was living at the time. 

The address was searched in March last year where Edwards was arrested after recovering a substantial amount of heroin and crack cocaine. She was released on bail but further examination showed she had been in contact with the existing drugs line. 

Detective Constable Phil Langstone, from the County Lines Taskforce, said: "Mohammed Sheikh was running a profitable drugs operation with little regard for its devastating impact on others, including his girlfriend who he cajoled into working for him. 

"He tried hard to evade us, dropping and running new phone lines, but we were determined to bring his dealings to an end and we’re pleased to see him behind bars after a thorough investigation."

Sheikh and Edwards were arrested at Birmingham Airport on May 6, 2023, after they attempted to board a flight to Cancun, Mexico. 

They were charged and remanded in custody where Sheikh later pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin and possession of a controlled class B drug with intent to supply. 

Edwards also pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin. 

Sheikh was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court on Tuesday (March 12) following an investigation lasting almost a year and a half. 

His partner, Sapphire Edwards, aged 33, of no fixed address, was given an 18-month suspended sentence and 120 hours of unpaid work for her involvement in his drug deals. 

Detective Sergeant Robert Moir said: "Sheikh was happy to benefit from selling drugs, knowing the misery they inflict on communities, and was planning to spend some of the profits on a luxury holiday in Mexico.

"Fortunately we were able to arrest him before he boarded the plane and he is now having an all-inclusive experience at His Majesty’s pleasure."