County Lines: Harborne drug dealer jailed after police arrest him in bed

Eugene Brannigan was jailed for more than six years at Birmingham Crown Court last week

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

A County Lines drugs dealer got a rude awakening when police raided the studio flat he’d been using to cook-up crack cocaine.

Eugene Brannigan was identified as the man behind the “Big Ali” line which advertised heroin and crack cocaine for sale from a drugs hotline.

The West Midlands Police intelligence unit uncovered the line through detailed phone work and on 7 January this year officers sprung an early morning surprise on Brannigan at the apartment in Lombard Street, Birmingham city centre.

BranniganBrannigan
Brannigan

He was arrested from his bed before the baffled 27-year-old asked “how did you get in”?

Big Ali – which police estimated moved more than £55,000 worth of drugs – since last September.

Officers traced him to the top floor and had sourced a key to his flat.

Enquiries revealed he’d been supplying drugs across Balsall Heath and Birmingham city centre.

He initially refused to provide his phone PIN – and had tried to disguise the drugs hotline by changing its IMEI identity sticker – but the force accessed the handset and found he regularly sent text messages marketing drugs to around 90 customers.

Officers also found evidence that Brannigan, from Woodville Road in Harborne, was cooking up crack cocaine in the flat.

He went on to admit supplying Class A drugs and at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday (25 February) was jailed for six years and nine months.

What did police say?

Detective Constable James Clarke from our County Lines Task Force, said: “People may be more familiar with us forcing entry to properties when we’re targeting drugs gangs – but when we’ve got a key there’s a greater element of surprise!

“He’s been given a jail term of nearly seven years which underlines how seriously the courts view the organised supply of drugs.

“Although we didn’t identify anyone else involved in the Big Ali line, phone evidence showed Brannigan was directing others to deliver drugs. We know the County Lines ‘business model’ often sees young people being exploited and put in serious danger by drug dealing.”

“We see too often that County Lines ruins lives and we are determined to go after people who use vulnerable people as commodities for their own greed.”

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. BirminghamWorld is Birmingham’s latest news website, championing everything that is great about our city - reporting on news, lifestyle and sport. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.