Sufiyan Ahmed and Daniel Mohammed were “trusted employees” of an organised crime gang when they were arrested following a chase through a residential area of the city.
Both the youngsters were found to be carrying knives – items a judge called “essential tools” of drug dealing.
When police searched the pair’s Airbnb rental property they found almost £8,000 worth of the Class A drugs along with thousands of pounds in cash.
The case is an example of county lines dealing, where organised criminal gangs from big cities such as Liverpool, Birmingham, and London extend their reach into smaller towns and cities.
Swansea Crown Court heard that on the afternoon of January 4 this year plain clothes officers went to the Uplands area of the city following intelligence about two youngsters on scooters thought to be involved in drug dealing.
Jim Davis, prosecuting, said the officers spotted the suspects – both carrying scooters – in St James’ Crescent and followed them.
The pair made their way to a lane off Brunswick Street where they were seen to be acting suspiciously. At that point the officers swooped on the visitors with Mohammed running off.
The court heard 19-year-old Ahmed made off at speed on his scooter and was seen “weaving through traffic and pedestrians” with police in pursuit. The defendant was caught and rugby-tackled to the ground by an officer.
Meanwhile other officers had chased after 18-year-old Mohammed and caught him. Ahmed was found with wraps of heroin and both defendants were found to be carrying knives.
A subsequent search of the property the pair had been renting in Uplands uncovered almost £8,000 worth of heroin and cocaine, some £5,000 in cash, documentation about Airbnb rentals, and Halfords receipts for the purchase of the electric scooters.
Ahmed, of Bleak Hill Road, Birmingham, and Mohammed, of Denewood Avenue, Birmingham, both pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and heroin with intent to supply and to possession of criminal property – the money – when they appeared in the dock for sentencing. They had both previously pleaded guilty to possession of a bladed article.
The court heard Ahmed has a previous conviction for possession of cannabis while Mohammed has a previous conviction for possession of an offensive weapon on school premises and for battery – convictions relating to him stabbing a fellow pupil in the leg at the grammar school he was attending.
Hywel Davies, for Ahmed, said his client’s involvement in a gang had come as a “shock” to those who knew him well. He said the defendant’s uncle was an accountant and that was an area of work Ahmed hoped to go into.
Ashanti-Jade Walton, for Mohammed, said her client’s previous weapon conviction involved him carrying a knife to school after being bullied because of a medical condition. She said the defendant had not been “sitting idly in his cell” while on remand and had been working in prison.
Judge Geraint Walters said it was clear the defendants, despite their youth, were “trusted employees” of an organised crime gang based in Birmingham and they had been caught carrying “the essential tools of drug dealing”.
He said: “This is not a game. Supplying heroin is passing a life sentence on some people who use it, a life sentence of misery and sometimes an early death – all to fuel the greed of this gang.”
The judge told the defendants he was mindful of the sentencing guidelines for young offenders, adding if they had been older he would have “taken pleasure” in passing longer sentences.
Giving the defendants a discount for their guilty pleas he sentenced them both to three years detention in a young offenders’ institution. Ahmed and Mohammed will serve up to a half of that period in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.