Engineer, 29, who ran drug empire to fund lavish lifestyle is jailed for seven years | The Sun

A UNIVERSITY graduate ran a coke and cannabis supply business to fund her lavish lifestyle.

University of Hull graduate Danielle Stafford, 29, bought a second home, expensive watches and designer handbags with the proceeds of crime.

Stafford, who enjoyed posing for selfies in glamorous locations, has now been jailed for seven-and-a-half years.

Stafford's world began to unravel when police pulled her over for speeding. Her phone was teeming with messages about drugs.

Her car smelled of drugs and Stafford had coke wraps in a bag. When officers searched her home they found drugs and cash.

She originally denied nine offences and a trial had started at Hull Crown Court.

She then changed her pleas to guilty on four charges.

Nadim Bashir, prosecuting, said police spotted a silver Audi heading along Priory Road towards Hull city centre at 7.30pm on May 12, 2020.

When police pulled her over she said: "I'll be honest, I've got this" and handed police a small silver wrap containing two buds of cannabis skunk."

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.

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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 then produced a bag containing 56 wraps of crack cocaine, valued at £2,800.

A search of Stafford's home led police to bundles of cash, cannabis,
Louis Vuitton handbags and nine watches.

An investigation of Stafford's bank accounts revealed that "she clearly had an additional stream of cash income" apart from her monthly wages from working for Swift Group.

Mr Bashire said that Stafford had bought her Cottingham home in March 2016 for £124,999 in her sole name with a mortgage and a property in Hotham Road South in July 2018 without a mortgage for £68,500 in equal shares with her aunt.

Stafford paid the "lion's share" of £64,927 from cashing in premium bonds and she told police that she bought it to rent it out.

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.

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.

Judge Mark Bury told Stafford: "You are well educated. You are a promising engineer. Your life went out of control some time in 2017 when you started dealing cannabis."

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Saleema Mahmood, mitigating, said that Stafford was street dealing cannabis.

She claimed that her involvement in Class A dealing was limited and arose through a person from Liverpool.

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