County Lines drug dealer caught by undercover police operation

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A ‘trusted lieutenant’ in a County Line that was supplying drugs into Welwyn Garden City and Potters Bar was on Thursday, January 20, jailed for four years.

Ben Douglas, 24, from Potters Bar, joined the AJ Line after being released from a prison in September 2020.

Ben Douglas.

He was one of 16 people charged in January last year after a six month undercover police operation known as Telic.

Prosecutor Michael Williams told St Albans Crown Court said Douglas was a ‘trusted lieutenant’ for the chief conspirator, who has still to come before the court.

The line used people with drug addiction to supply drugs across the two towns. An undercover woman officer made ten test purchases from several runners between September and November 2020.

Douglas was not involved in supplying the officer directly, but restocked runners and ‘topped up’ the dealing line, said Mr Williams.

On October 28, 2020 Douglas was seen taking a taxi from Potters Bar to Welwyn Garden City where he met one of the runners. “The evidence suggests he was there to restock him,” he said.

He took the train back to Potters Bar where he was seen in the company of the man at the top of the drugs line.

Two days later he and two others were seen at the home of the same runner, who was later seen to have suffered a lump to his head.

When Douglas was arrested he answered no comment to police questions.

Douglas, 24, of Kimptons Mead, Potters Bar, appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. He had 3 convictions for 6 offences.

Defending, Jessica Clarke said he came out of prison and was looking for work and got involved in the drug line. She said he was paid on a job by job basis.

She said he had spent a year in Bedford jail and was now an enhanced prisoner who was due to start a listeners course. He was supported by his partner, she said.

Jailing him, Judge Michael Kay QC told him: “You assisted the man at the top. You knew what was going on and played a significant function in the chain.”