A cannabis dealer was found with a stash of 31 bank cards when the police searched the car he was driving, a court heard.
Stephen Dada attracted the attention of a plain clothes officer who saw him acting suspiciously in a Vauxhall Astra in Leicester City Centre – and suspected he was peddling drugs to a man who briefly got into the passenger seat and appeared to be pocketing something as he left.
Lucy Jones, prosecuting, told Leicester Crown Court: “The defendant drove down York Street and stopped to ask a female if she wanted to ‘buy a smoke’ but she refused and he drove off.
The silver Astra was pulled over in Grange Lane, off Mill Lane, and the vehicle was searched, on Wednesday February 20, 2019.
Officers seized £1,025 in cash, two mobile phones and two small bags of cannabis with six further one gram deals in the boot, collectively worth about £85.
Miss Jones said: “The defendant directed the police to his rucksack where his passport was.
“Officers also found 31 bank cards wrapped in elastic bands with three bank card readers.”
Messages stored on 22-year-old Dada’s phones revealed he had been street dealing in cannabis for a few weeks and other messages contained passwords and bank details of a woman who was being used as a “money mule” to launder funds.
Eight of the cards were in the defendant’s name, relating to closed bank accounts, but 23 others were in different people’s names and could have been fraudulently used in online transactions, said the prosecutor.
Dada, of Ancona Road, Plumstead, South East London, gave a “no comment” police interview.
He later pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis with intent to supply it and possessing articles for use in fraud – the 31 bank cards and three card readers.
Imran Majid, mitigating, said Dada had no previous convictions and kept out of trouble for more than a year-and-a-half since the offences.
He said the defendant began using cannabis, following the death of three of his friends.
He then went on to deal in the drug for about a month before his arrest.
Mr Majid did not say anything about the defendant’s possession of the bank cards.
Sentencing, Recorder Richard Jones said: “Your mobile phones revealed street dealing in cannabis had taken place and there were messages giving passwords linked to an account used to launder money from various other accounts.
“The fraud cannot be described as being small scale because of the number of cards found in your possession.”
The recorder told him: “I’m suspending the sentence because there’s a realistic prospect of rehabilitation in your case, especially as a significant period of time has passed since these offences without you reoffending.”
He said he also took into account Dada’s previous good character and the Covid-19 situation in prison.
Dada was given a 12 month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, with 150 hours of unpaid work.