Radio Sandwell Local News

Benefits Street star 'sold drugs' as part of conspiracy court is told

2015-05-06 19:35:49

Samora Roberts and Charlene WilsonFrom left, 'Black Dee' Samora Roberts at a previous court appearance and fellow defendents Omari George (in a Scream mask) and Charlene Wilson attending court

Four Benefits Street residents were involved in a conspiracy to sell large quantities of heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis, a jury was told.

Covert police surveillance over a two week period recorded dozens of alleged deals on Winson Green’s James Turner Street.

And when officers finally kicked in doors as part of a co-ordinated raid, drugs, cash and other dealing paraphernalia were found in the homes of Samora Roberts, 34, Charlene Wilson, 31, Tina Thomas, 47 and Ian Wright, 39.

They are jointly charged with George Omari, 22, of Dora Road, Handsworth and Marvin Scott, 38, of City Road, Edgbaston.

All six deny charges of conspiracy to supply heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis.

Tina Thomas, Omari George and Marvin ScottTina Thomas, Omari George and Marvin Scott

Roberts, made famous as Black Dee in controversial Channel 4 documentary Benefits Street, also faces two charges of possessing ammunition without a fire arms licence.

Thomas faces a single ammunition charge.

Both deny the allegations.

Opening the case, Samantha Forsyth, prosecuting, said: “Essentially, this is a case about the selling of drugs.”

“This wasn’t people smoking a bit of cannabis for personal use, it went far far beyond that.

“The Crown say each and every one to a lesser or greater extent were involved in selling drugs from that street.

“Police secretly filmed the defendants going about, we say, their unlawful business, selling drugs.”

Police recorded 14 days of covert footage allegedly showing the six passing packages between each other between May 5 and June 14 2013.

Dozens of alleged deals were also captured on film.

In one of the videos, Deirdre Kelly, who became known as White Dee thanks to Benefits Street, was seen knocking on Roberts’ door. She is not implicated in the conspiracy.

When the home of Roberts was raided on June 14 police found nine-and-a-half grams of cannabis, 16g of cocaine and a small amount of heroin.

In a shoe in a laundry basket, 13 bullets were found.

A car key discovered under a quilt was a car key for a Ford Focus parked outside number 129 James Turner Street.

Inside was found 194g of crack cocaine under the near side front seat.

Those drugs were divided into eight packages and had a street value of around £5,000.

Five sets of scales were also found.

Ms Forsyth said: “You may wonder why anyone has five sets of scales, even perhaps the keenest baker.”

Inside Scott’s house, £2,000 of crack cocaine was found on top of a washing machine along with £4,000 cash in a box on top of a wardrobe.

In the home of Wilson, partner of co-defendant Ian Wright, was found cannabis worth £500, heroin with a street value of £150, and crack cocaine inside a child’s plastic Kinder egg container.

Officers searching Thomas’ terraced house discovered £1,500 of cannabis, wrapped in bags, and inside a small pink box she owned, five bullets wrapped in a sock.

Preparing the jury for hours of footage they will sit though, Ms Forsyth said: “This is not Oscar winning footage. It is not light entertainment.

“It builds up a picture of people clearly associated with each other going about, not just their day-to-day business, but more than that, the selling of illegal drugs.”


Samora RobertsSamora Roberts at Birmingham Crown Court

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