A MAN has been sentenced for his role in running county lines drug dealing into West Sussex and across the South East following an operation involving several police forces.

Aaron Murray, 25, was sentenced to five years and six months in prison when he appeared at Hove Crown Court on Thursday, having previously admitted being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin.

Murray, of Tideswell Close, Braintree, Essex, and another man, Kieron Dice, 19, of Antlers Hill in London, were tracked down in a joint operation by three police forces.

The pair were stopped in a car by Metropolitan Police officers in north east London in September 2020. In the car were mobile phones that were already linked by police intelligence work to the "rocky" county drugs line, which had been moving drugs from that area of London to Crawley for several months.

The intelligence and digital forensic work also revealed that Murray and Dice had been operating the "Hollywood" county Line from north east London into Essex, Suffolk, and across the South East, for months.

Officers from Sussex Police, the Metropolitan Police Operation Orochi team which works with surrounding forces to track down county lines dealers from London, and from Suffolk Constabulary worked together to catch the duo.

The Argus: Aaron Murray was sentenced on November 11.Aaron Murray was sentenced on November 11.

Detective Inspector Alan Pack of the West Sussex Community Investigations Team said it showed how police can liaise to tackle county drug lines.

He said: "This is another example of the way police forces can work together across boundaries to bring to justice drug dealers who try to bring misery to our communities for financial profit."

During the investigation a Suffolk officer, Detective Constable Dave Murphy from the Serious Crime Disruption Team, established that a phone number associated to the Hollywood business was a drugs line operating in Sudbury in Suffolk.

The Argus: Kieron Dice was sentenced in January this year.Kieron Dice was sentenced in January this year.

Further enquiries established Sussex Police had seized the relevant phone number and mobile device and DC Murphy provided key evidence to Sussex officers to show it was a drugs line linked to Suffolk.

DC Murphy said: “This collaborative working with other forces demonstrates how collectively we can bring great results. These carefully planned operations have a powerful impact in terms of shutting down a significant number of county lines at their source with immediate results."

Dice was sentenced to three years imprisonment on January 15 this year.

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