Drug dealing is a serious crime with devastating consequences for individuals, families, and communities. Recently, engineer and University of Hull graduate Danielle Stafford was arrested for selling heroin, crack cocaine, and cannabis to fund her lavish lifestyle.
Stafford was caught by chance when police pulled over her car for speeding. Officers smelled cannabis coming from the vehicle, and upon further search, found a bag of the drug worth £1,308 behind the driver’s seat. The officers also found a constantly pinging iPhone with 30 calls and up to 20 drug-related messages. On the way to the station, Stafford was seen “fidgeting” with her jogging bottoms and was asked if she had any more drugs hidden. She pulled out a bag of crack cocaine valued at £2,800 from her trousers, but claimed it was not hers.
When police searched Stafford’s home in Cottingham, East Yorkshire, they found £26,917 in cash and drugs with a street value of £33,600. The haul included a glass jar filled with 270 wraps of crack cocaine worth £13,500 and 205 wraps of heroin valued at £4,100. It also included several stashes of cannabis worth thousands of pounds, ecstasy tablets, and several bundles of banknotes in multiple places.
Stafford denied having anything to do with the majority of the haul, but admitted owning a stash of cannabis worth £370, some scales and food bags, three Louis Vuitton handbags, and nine watches. She told police that a man from Liverpool had been staying with her on and off, claiming he had left drugs and cash at her home.
However, it was revealed that Stafford was an “enthusiastic” cannabis dealer before progressing to sell cocaine. Prosecutor Nadim Bashir said she had an additional stream of cash income aside from her monthly pay from her day job as an engineer for Swift Group. Examination of her bank accounts revealed Stafford had taken holidays with no sign of her using her bank account to make purchases overseas, suggesting she was using her drug money.
Stafford had bought her Cottingham home in March 2016 for £124,999 in her sole name with a mortgage, and bought a second home in July 2018 without a mortgage for £68,500 with the proceeds of her drug sales. Police recovered messages on Stafford’s phone dating back to October 2017, instructing another woman to complete cannabis deals in her absence.
Stafford admitted three offences related to supplying heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis, and another charge of possessing cash as criminal property. Her sentencing was adjourned to a later date, and the defendant – who has no previous convictions – was allowed bail.
The case of Danielle Stafford serves as an example of the serious consequences of drug dealing. Not only does it put individuals and communities in danger, but it can lead to severe legal repercussions. This case also shows how easily drug dealing can be carried out in secret and how it can be used to fund a lavish lifestyle.