Saturday, 2 Mar 2024

Woman funded life of designer bags and holidays by selling drugs

Lancashire police arrest twins for drug-dealing

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A woman funded her lavish life of designer bags and foreign holidays by selling heroin and crack cocaine, a court heard.

Engineer Danielle Stafford, 29, had a long-standing “additional cash income stream” but was caught by chance when police stopped her for speeding.

Her phone was constantly beeping or ringing relating to the supply of drugs after her arrest. Police found £27,000 cash and £33,600 in drugs at her home.

Officers found luxury items including nine watches and three Louis Vuitton handbags.

The woman, who initially denied nine offences on trial, later admitted to three counts of being involved in the supply of heroin, crack cocaine, and cannabis, as well as another count of having cash in his possession between October 2017 and May 2020.

Police became suspicious after they smelled cannabis coming from inside the car, ECHO reported.

She “immediately lied,” telling police: “I’ll be honest, I’ve got this,” and handing them a small silver wrap containing two cannabis.

Officers discovered additional bags of cannabis. Ms Stafford was seen fidgeting with her jogging bottoms on the way to the police station and was asked if she had any more drugs hidden.

She said: “Yes, but it’s not mine and I don’t know what it is. I shoved it down my joggers when you pulled me.”

Stafford yanked a bag with numerous tiny bags of cocaine out from in between her legs. There were 56 packages of crack cocaine totalling $2,800.

Police forced entry into her three-bedroom end-terrace home in Cottingham and found plastic bags inside a glass jar hidden behind a load of coal bricks in a coal bunker in the rear garden.

The jar contained 205 wraps of heroin and 270 wraps of crack cocaine, with a combined worth of £13,500. Stafford, however, denied being aware of them.

According to Hull Live, a living room table contained an empty banana box with herbal cannabis valued at £2,500. She disputed ownership of it. Police also discovered weighing scales, a sizable sum of cash, additional food bags and two glass jars of cannabis worth £370. She acknowledged ownership of these.

Her bedroom had thousands of dollars in cash and ecstasy tablets, and a safe contained another £7,580 in cash she denied was hers. Cash bundles, one of which was worth over £9,000, were also discovered in an upstairs box room.

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A review of Stafford’s bank accounts showed that, besides her monthly salary from working for Swift Group, “she clearly had an additional stream of cash income.” Holidays had been taken, but there was no evidence of her purchasing foreign currency or purchasing abroad in her bank account.

Ms Stafford had bought her primary residence in March 2016 for £124,999 in her own name with a mortgage as well as a second house in equal shares with her aunt two years later for £68,500 without a mortgage.

Ms Stafford said during police interviews that a man from Liverpool had intermittently been living with her and had called to say he had left something at her house. When she arrived home, there was a large amount of cannabis, and when he asked her to bring it to him, she refused because she did not feel comfortable doing so.

She started out as an “enthusiastic” cannabis dealer before becoming a class A cocaine dealer, according to testimony given in court.

Ms Stafford, who has no prior convictions, was granted conditional bail while the sentence was postponed while reports were being obtained. She had previously been detained for lengthy periods of time before being released on bond.

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