Police have compared a jailed drug dealer to Idris Elba’s character from The Wire after he was found to be demanding sales figures from his runners and studying “small business management”.
Zahir Hussain had been using his course to attempt to “boost sales”, West Midlands Police said, drawing a parallel to fictional drug kingpin Stringer Bell.
The 40-year-old orchestrated the crack cocaine and heroin operation through a phone network named after himself, the Zee Line.
He was tracked to a flat in Birmingham city centre where class A drugs, £10,000 in cash and mobile phones used as part of his network were found in March last year.
Hussain was prosecuted after another man, Mohammed Zubair, was arrested two months before.
He was caught with more than 20 wraps of crack cocaine and heroin and an investigation showed he was receiving diverted calls from Hussain's drugs line.
PC David Harman, a financial investigator at West Midlands Police, said: “This was a sophisticated drugs operation.
"Messages on his phones showed text messages to drug users boasting about the quality of the drugs, advice to runners about how to boost sales and even demands for sales figures.
"Hussain had been studying small business management, similar to Idris Elba’s character Stringer Bell in TV’s The Wire, and course books were found inside the flat.
"Further messages showed desperate drug users offering personal belongings in exchange for drugs highlighting the misery being brought upon the community.“
Hussain, of Trafalgar Grove, Yardley, was sentenced to six years and three months imprisonment for conspiracy to supply drugs at Birmingham Crown Court on 3 December.
Zubair, 37, of Whitehall Road in Handsworth, had a two-year jail term for delivering the dugs suspended for two years.
Hussain's girlfriend Hayley Kirkman, 23, of Yardley, was handed a 12 month community order for possession of Class A drugs.