Man jailed for four years after County Line busted in High Peak
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A County Line drugs bust has seen a 21-year-old man jailed for more than four years.
Matthew Johnson was running a County Lines drug operation from Manchester into the High Peak area over the last two years.
Johnson, who went by the drug dealing name Manc Dave, had brought a phone line, which had an established client base in the area, from another criminal and had begun moving both heroin and crack cocaine into the town.
Following information passed to the force, officers from the Buxton CID team stopped a silver Ford Focus on the A6 in Chapel-en-le-Frith on 20 May, 2021.
When the detectives opened the door of the car, they found Johnson lying down with his hands down the back of his trousers trying to hide several wraps of crack cocaine.
Following a search of Johnson seven wraps of crack cocaine were recovered, along with £128 in cash.
Three mobile phones were also found in the car, one of which was found to be the “line phone” which was constantly ringing after officers seized it. Following a forensic examination of the phone numerous marketing messages were found advertising both heroin and crack cocaine for sale and their supposed high quality.
Johnson, of Shelley Grove, Droylsden, Manchester, gave a no comment interview and was charged with possession with intent to supply crack cocaine.
But this was not the first time that Johnson had been caught by officers with drugs in the High Peak area.
Back in 2019, after receiving information about a man drug dealing in Whaley Bridge, officers arrested Johnson on 8 March after he tried to run away from three cops along a canal path near Goyt Place.
He was found with around £200 in cash, 24 wraps of heroin and a small amount of cocaine. He was charged with another count of possession with intent to supply class A drugs.
Johnson was once again targeted by officers on 13 May 2020 – and was found with cocaine and heroin, split into dealer wraps, while driving in New Mills.
His Honda Civic was found to be displaying false numberplates and another set of false plates were found in the boot.
He was once again charged with possession with intent to supply class A drugs.
Johnson appeared at Derby Crown Court today (11 June) where he was sentenced to four years and four months in prison.
Detective Sergeant Kevin Morrisey said: “With Manchester a short hop over the border criminals see towns like Buxton as an easy target.
“But my message to them is simple – they aren’t.
“Our team, along with our roads policing, local neighbourhood and organised crimes units, work together to proactively detect, disrupt and bring to justice those who peddle drugs in our community.
“If you plan on running drugs into our county then be prepared to end up in a pair of handcuffs.”
Many County Lines operate from so houses of drug users which are taken over, using intimidation and sometimes violence – known as cuckooing.
Sergeant Adam Harrison from the Buxton Safer Neighbourhood Team said: “The first line of defence in tackling these gangs is our local community.
“If you have any information about drug dealing in the area then I would urge you to please contact the force, in confidence, at any time.
“I would also urge you to learn how to spot the signs of a house being cuckooed, and alert us to these as well.
“We see on a day to day basis the pain these drugs cause and with your help we can bring those who are profiting from this misery to justice.”
Some of the signs to spot are:
People entering the property
Cars or bikes outside the property
People coming and going at strange times
There may also be:
Damage to the door, or the door being propped open
Unknown people pressing buttons to gain access to the building
You have not seen the resident recently, or when you have, they have been anxious or distracted
No engagement with family or services
The resident will not open the door of their property
If you have information about drug dealing in your area you can report it via the following methods:
Facebook– send us a private message to /DerbyshireConstabulary
Twitter– direct message our contact centre on @DerPolContact