Drug dealer who used Kenilworth hotel as base jailed
Staff at a Kenilworth hotel were right to be suspicious of the activities of a guest who turned out to be using his room as a base for his drug-dealing activities.
And when the police, tipped off by staff at the Cottage Inn, arrested Benji Davis they found he even had the equipment to make his own ecstasy tablets.
But despite the overwhelming evidence, including more than Â£2,000 worth of ecstasy and cocaine, he denied possessing the class A drugs with intent to supply them.
It was only on the day of his trial at Warwick Crown Court that he changed his pleas to guilty and also admitted possessing a quantity of cannabis.
Davis, 30, of Almond Tree Avenue, Bell Green, Coventry, was jailed for four-and-a-half years.
Prosecutor Michael Williams said that in May last year Davis booked into the Cottage Inn in Stoneleigh Road, Kenilworth, for five days, paying in cash for the room.
But a few days later staff became concerned about what he was up to after seeing him changing the number plate on a silver Mercedes on the car park.
He was not there when officers arrived, but they were let into his room where they found 14 grams of MDMA (ecstasy) and some paracetamol powder which is often used as a ‘cutting agent.’
Shortly afterwards Davis arrived in a blue Mercedes and was arrested – and on the way to the police station he remarked: “It’s the only way I can make money. Please, I don’t want to go to prison.”
In the footwell of the blue Mercedes, officers found an ounce (28 grams) of MDMA and a number of deals of cocaine, while in the silver car were a quantity of zip-seal bags and a set of number plates.
Davis was searched at the police station and was found to have Â£2,160 in cash on him and a phone on which the police found around 1500 messages relating to the supply of drugs.
Mr Williams said the ecstasy found in the car and in the room would have been worth around Â£1,500 in street deals, while the cocaine was worth around Â£500.
The officers had also found a small pill-pressing kit to enable Davis to make his own ecstasy tablets, bulking out the MDMA with paracetamol powder.
Davis also had 25 bags of skunk cannabis worth Â£950 which he pleaded guilty to possessing, but not with intent to supply.
When he was interviewed he said he was a regular user of cannabis, but claimed he was unaware of the drugs in the Mercedes, and that his comment about making money had related to buying and selling cars.
Mr Williams added that Davis had previous convictions for offences including shoplifting, and a caution for possessing cannabis with intent to supply it.
Gareth James, defending, said the swapping of the number plates which had first aroused suspicion was actually because a personalised number which had been on the silver Mercedes was being transferred to another vehicle.
Of the drug-dealing, he said: “He says he wasn’t making money. He says he was pressured into becoming involved in the sale of drugs because of his debts over his use of cannabis.
“For some time he’s suffered from seizures, and he finds the use of cannabis helps to avoid them. He became indebted to the drug dealer who put pressure on him.
“He’s not the mastermind behind this, but is a player within it. He knows a custodial sentence is inevitable.”
Jailing Davis, Judge Anthony Potter told him: “Drugs are a menace. You should know that yourself, having been a frequent user of cannabis over the years and a man who has suffered from mental health problems.
“The police found not only a quantity of ecstasy in your room, but also paracetamol, indicating you were involved in diluting the MDMA for onward sale.
“In the car they found more MDMA and a pill press you would have used to make drugs for sale - and you made a very telling comment when you said it was the only way to make money.”