- Zahir Hussain, 40, ran a sophisticated crack and heroin supply network
- He modelled his business on Idris Elba's character Stringer Bell
- Hussain, of Birmingham, has been jailed for more than six years
Inspired: Zahir Hussain, 40, of Birmingham, ran a sophisticated crack and heroin supply network
A drug dealer who modelled himself on Idris Elba's character from The Wire has been jailed for more than six years.
Zahir Hussain, 40, ran a sophisticated crack and heroin supply network while taking a small business course at college to improve his understanding of the drugs trade.
Police say he was inspired by ruthless gangster Stringer Bell from the hit TV show, who went to night classes in between running a multi-million pound heroin empire.
Bell was played by British Hollywood star Idris Elba and was eventually gunned down by rivals after being sold out by his associates.
Hussain tried to use tips from his course to motivate his street dealers and even sent them texts asking for sales figures.
He attempted to avoid capture by receiving calls diverted through an accomplice's phone over what he called the 'Zee Line'.
Police began investigating Hussain after receiving a tip-off about his partner Mohammed Zubair, 37, who was caught with over 20 wraps of crack cocaine in January last year.
Zubair's phone records led investigators to Hussain and they arrested him at a flat in Birmingham city centre in March last year.
In addition to college textbooks, officers found a small quantity of class A drugs, £10,000 in cash and mobile phones he had used for drug dealing.
Last Thursday, Hussain, from Yardley, Birmingham, was jailed for six years and three months after admitting conspiracy to supply drugs at Birmingham Crown Court.
Speaking after the case, Pc David Harman, financial investigator with 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.'
Zubair, from Handsworth, Birmingham, was handed a two-year jail term suspended for 24 months for possession with intent to supply drugs.