A drug dealer secretly funded her life of luxury with designer handbags and foreign holidays by selling heroin and crack cocaine.
Danielle Stafford, 29, from Hallgate, Cottingham, splashed the cash on nine watches and three expensive Louis Vuitton handbags.
The engineer, who graduated from the University of Hull, also bought a second home and lived her life without touching any of the money from her normal salary due to a long-running ‘additional cash income stream’.
However, after being caught by pure chance when police spotted her speeding, her drugs empire began ‘unravelling before her very eyes’, Hull Crown Court heard.
A phone constantly rang with 30 calls or pinged with up to 20 drug messages after she was arrested and police later found £26,917 cash stashed around her home and drugs with a street value of £33,600.
Danielle Stafford, 29, secretly funded her life of luxury by selling heroin and crack cocaine
The engineer and University of Hull graduate was able to buy a second home and lived her life without touching any of the money from her normal salary due to a long-running ‘additional cash income stream’
Stafford admitted three offences of being concerned in supplying heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis and another of possessing cash as criminal property, on dates spanning October 2017 and May 2020.
She originally denied nine offences but suddenly changed her pleas to guilty on four charges after the trial started.
Nadim Bashir, prosecuting, said the police recovered text messages on Stafford’s phone beginning in October 2017 and involving her directing another woman to complete £10 or £20 cannabis deals in her absence.
There were also lists of people who owed money.
Police in Hull at 7.30pm on May 12, 2020 spotted a silver Audi heading along Priory Road towards the city centre.
It was speeding and hastily turned onto Hotham Road South, cutting the corner and cutting up a vehicle heading in the opposite direction.
The car was followed and it was stopped in The Odd Bottle car park on Wold Road. Police could smell cannabis coming from the inside of the car and this aroused their suspicions.
She ‘immediately lied’ and told police: ‘I’ll be honest, I’ve got this’ and handed police a small silver wrap containing two buds of cannabis skunk.
Police found further bags of cannabis on her, including a food bag containing cannabis skunk and, from a pocket, another food bag containing cannabis skunk.
The car was searched and a carrier bag of cannabis skunk worth £1,308 was found behind the driver’s seat.
Police found £26,917 cash stashed around her home and drugs with a street value of £33,600
Stafford admitted three offences of being concerned in supplying heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis and another of possessing cash as criminal property, on dates spanning October 2017 and May 2020
On the way to the police station, Stafford was seen ‘fidgeting’ with her jogging bottoms and she 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 pulled out, from between her legs, a bag containing a large amount of small bags of cocaine. There were 56 wraps of crack cocaine, valued at £2,800.
Her three-bedroom end-terrace home in Cottingham was searched after police forced entry.
A glass jar with plastic bags inside was found hidden behind a bag of coal bricks in a coal bunker in the rear garden. There were 270 wraps of crack cocaine, valued at £13,500, and 205 wraps of heroin, valued at £4,100, in the jar. Stafford denied knowledge of them.
Wads of cash were also found in her bedroom and wardrobe.
‘Even with rental or lodgings allowances, neither property was able to provide any significant source of income to justify the cash found in the house,’ said Mr Bashir.
During police interview, Stafford claimed that a Liverpool lad had been staying with her on and off and that he had telephoned her to say that he had left something at her home.
Stafford, who has no previous convictions, was allowed conditional bail
When she got home, there was a large amount of cannabis and, when he asked her to take it to him, she said that she did not feel comfortable doing so.
She claimed that he asked her just to bring a bag which was there and, in a panic, she grabbed a bag and was driving to meet him. Stafford denied that she or the lad were dealing drugs but later admitted that she would drive to Liverpool and bring him back to Hull.
She denied knowledge of any of the large amounts of cash found around her home, claiming that she looked after it for the lad, including keeping it for him in her own bedroom, apart from £2,350 which belonged to her.
He told the court that Stafford was an ‘enthusiastic’ cannabis dealer and progressed to becoming a Class A cocaine dealer.
‘She had somehow managed to avoid her drug dealing activities coming to the attention of the police for a substantial period of time,’ said Mr Bashir.
Sentence was adjourned for reports and Stafford, who has no previous convictions, was allowed conditional bail. She has previously spent lengthy periods in custody but was later allowed bail.