WALES: A baby-faced drug dealer ran a county lines operation from a base in a Premier Inn hotel room. Bradley Dhlamini, 23, of Parsonage Street, Bury, was arrested at the Premier Inn on Little Wind Street in Swansea, Wales on January 13, 2020.
Police went to the hotel to investigate a man who had been arrested earlier in the day. The man police were investigating had been staying at the hotel since January 8 and was extending his stay one day at a time by paying cash each day.
When the police arrived at the hotel reception, Dhlamini walked in before quickly turning around and walking out.
Staff told police the man who made the abrupt U-turn was in the same room as the man they were inquiring about. Officers then pursued the fleeing man before arresting him, Wales Online reports.
Dhlamini appeared at Swansea Crown Court last week over his involvement in county drug operations. Hannah George, prosecuting, said after her arrest, police recovered a phone from Dhlamini’s trouser pocket.
Police also retrieved a pack of cigarettes from his jacket pocket – in the pack were 37 packs of 87% pure crack and three packs of lower purity heroin. The accused also had a key card to another city center hotel – the Dolphin – and subsequent checks showed he had checked into this hotel at lunchtime the previous day, booking a room for a day and paying in cash.
The court heard booking hotel rooms one day at a time and paying cash is a common technique used by county drug gangs. It usually allows dealers and couriers to come and go, before returning to the city where they are based in order to pick up new supplies.
The accused gave a ‘no comment’ interview to the police and refused to reveal his phone’s PIN code. Court heard officers were unable to access the messages on the mobile, but accessed a file of notes which appeared to be a dealer’s list of amounts owed and references to B – short for ‘brown’ or heroin – and W or “white” as cocaine is often called.
Dhlamini’s home in Bury was later raided, where 14 phone SIM cards were recovered. Dhlamini had previously pleaded guilty to possession of crack cocaine with intent to supply and possession of heroin with intent to supply when he stood in the dock to be sentenced. He has no previous convictions.
Ian Ibrahim, for Dhlamini, said the defendant’s parents left him in Zimbabwe when he was two years old when they came to the UK. He said his client joined them in the UK when he was 10, but suffered mental and physical abuse, including daily beatings, which eventually led to him being caught in charge at the age of 14.
The lawyer said that, lonely and isolated as a teenager, Dhlamini was introduced to cocaine and cannabis by his peers and found himself in debt. Judge Paul Thomas QC told Dhlamini that two years ago he came to Swansea for “one purpose, and one purpose only”, and that was to sell Class A drugs.
He said the defendant knew the risks he faced when he made the choice to come to town and now had to pay the price. He added: “People like you should know that if you come here to sell class A drugs you can expect a very long stay.”