A COUNTY Lines dealer has been jailed for selling doses of heroin which was laced with the deadly drug fentanyl.

Jamie Randell ran two different operations in Exeter using a phone line with the brand name Drops, one of which took over after the first was shut down by police.

One of the runners he used to deliver drugs to customers was found with wraps of heroin hidden inside his body which contained traces of fentanyl, a powerful prescription painkiller which is 100 times more powerful than morphine.

Another street dealer who was working for him climbed a tree after being caught selling drugs in a park in Exeter and remained there for 45 minutes, during which police suspected he was deleting contacts from his phone.

The first drugs conspiracy operated for nine months from August 2021 and sold both heroin and cocaine while the other, which ran from September to November 2022 and involved only crack cocaine and cannabis.

Randell, aged 30, of Shooters Hill, London, and Beau Christopher, aged 32, of Blackheath, London, both admitted both conspiracies. Randell was jailed for seven years and six months and Christopher for five years and six months by Judge Anna Richardson at Exeter Crown Court.

Brandon Edge, aged 26, of Swanley, Kent and Jayson Knox, aged 28, of Chiselhurst, London, both admitted the first. Edge was jailed for two years, suspended for two years with 40 days of rehabilitation activities and 200 hours of unpaid community work.

Knox will be sentenced after a drug rehabilitation assessment has been completed.

The Judge told the men that the offence was made more serious by the presence of fentanyl in the drugs which were sold.

Miss Emily Cook, prosecuting, said the two Drops lines were run from London but sometimes taken to Devon. They sent up to 50 messages a day to users in and around Exeter offering special deals on drugs.

Christopher made the drop-off and was in constant contact with the Drops phone, with 2,500 calls over eight months. He and Knox were arrested in Exeter in November 2021, when the Drops phone was seized and closed down. It had 248 customer contacts on it.

More phones were seized from Edge’s home in London in a later raid, including two which were hidden in his airing cupboard.

Miss Cook said the heroin seized from Knox during his arrest in Exeter had been cut with a substance that contained fentanyl which increased the danger of an accidental overdose in users.

Lawyers representing all the men said they were drawn into the conspiracy by their own drug use, difficult family circumstances or bereavements and none had been living a luxury lifestyle or making any discernible profit.