A man who went on the run in an effort to avoid prosecution has been sentenced to seven years on Friday 15th October for conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin into Barrow-in-Furness.
Jack Murphy, 26, of Lower House Lane, Liverpool was arrested in January 2021 for a Class A drugs supply operation known as Operation Funicular that spanned July-November 2019 which investigated an organised crime group based in Merseyside.
The court heard how Murphy used a ‘dealer’ phone number to send text messages advertising drugs to users in Barrow, frequently claiming his drugs were the “best in town” and advertising “deals deals deals”. It was found Murphy was the holder of the dealer line known as ‘Jay Jay’.
Murphy was initially arrested on 26th November 2019 in a Seat Altea on the outskirts of Barrow-in-Furness, in company with co-defendant Toni Cross, 42. While the Seat occupants were being spoken to, Murphy was seen to discard a SIM card down the side of his seat – this was later proved to be the SIM card for the dealer line.
A number of text messages were later recovered from a burner phone found in the Seat’s glove box. Following his arrest, Murphy claimed that he had nothing to do with the supply of drugs, but was found guilty and sentenced to conspiring to supply crack cocaine and heroin.
Murphy’s co-defendant, Toni Cross – who also initially denied being involved in the supply of drugs – was sentenced at an earlier hearing on 19th January 2021 to four years’ imprisonment, and was subject of a deprivation order for the Seat Altea.
A spokesperson for Cumbria Constabulary’s South Area Drugs Unit said: “Murphy played an important part in trafficking Class A drugs into the Barrow area. Following his arrest, he sought to evade justice by going on the run but was tracked down and has now faced justice.
“However, the result is a significant prison sentence for Murphy which should send out a clear message to anyone else considering involving themselves in similar criminality.
“County lines drug dealing is a blight on the county and significantly contributes to immense suffering to some of the most vulnerable people in society. However, Cumbria Constabulary is committed to rooting it out, as evidenced by this most recent court result.”