WALES: A baby-faced drug dealer headed up a county lines operation from a base at 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 visited the hotel to investigate a man who had been arrested earlier that 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 for each day.
When police arrived at the hotel’s reception area, Dhlamini walked in before quickly turning around and walking out.
Staff told police that the man who had done the abrupt U-turn was staying in the same room as the man they were inquiring about. Officers then pursued the fleeing man before detaining him, reports Wales Online.
Dhlamini appeared at Swansea Crown Court last week for his involvement in county lines drugs operations. Hannah George, prosecuting, said that following his arrest, police recovered a phone from Dhlamini’s trouser pocket.
Police also recovered a cigarette packet from his jacket pocket – in the packet were 37 wraps of 87 per cent pure crack cocaine and three wraps of lesser-purity heroin. Also on the defendant was a key card to another city centre hotel – the Dolphin – and subsequent checks showed he had checked into that hotel at lunchtime the day before, booking a room for one day and paying with cash.
The court heard booking hotel rooms one day at a time and paying with cash is a common technique used by county lines drugs gangs. It usually allows dealers and couriers to come and go, before travelling back to the city where they are based in order to pick up new supplies.
The defendant gave a “no comment” interview to police, and refused to reveal the PIN to his phone. The court heard that officers have been unable to get access to the messages on the mobile but have accessed a notes file which appeared to be a dealer’s list of amounts of money owed and references to B – shorthand for “brown” or heroin – and W or “white” as cocaine is often called.
Dhlamini’s Bury house was subsequently searched, where 14 phone SIM cards were recovered. Dhlamini had previously pleaded guilty to possession of crack cocaine with intent to supply and to possession of heroin with intent to supply when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. He has no previous convictions.
Ian Ibrahim, for Dhlamini, said the defendant’s parents had left him behind in Zimbabwe at the age of two when they had come to the UK. He said his client joined them in the UK at the age of 10 but suffered mental and physical abuse including daily beatings at their hands which eventually saw him being taken into care at the age of 14.
The barrister said that, lonely and isolated as a teenager, Dhlamini, had been introduced to cocaine and cannabis by his peers and had ended up in debt. Judge Paul Thomas QC told Dhlamini that two years ago he had come to Swansea for “one purpose, and one purpose only”, and that was to deal Class A drugs.
He said the defendant had known the risks he was running when he made the choice to come to the city, and now had to pay the price. He added: “People like you need to know that if you come here to sell Class A drugs, you can expect a very long stay.”