In a bizarre turn of events, Hackney man was arrested for possessing sugar thinking it was drugs.
It’s not every day that a man faces jail time for possessing painkillers and sugar. But that is what happened to Romario Wright, a 24-year-old from Hackney.
Romario was sentenced to 7 years and 9 months at the Inner London Crown court .on the 17th of April this year.
In October last year, Wright was arrested in Brixton after a stop and search revealed about 15 bags of what he claimed to be crack cocaine and heroin that he recently purchased. Upon arrest, Romario panicked and told the officers, “I just bought these. I worked so hard to get these. It was for my own personal use. I literally just got these.”
The accused stole items from his grandmother’s home and sold it at CEX to pay for the drugs. He claimed he only bought it to use the drugs and that he had no intention to sell it.
CCTV footage shown in court showed Wright buy 150 pounds worth of coke and heroin near a Caribbean restaurant from a guy whom he called “Fats”.
Lab testing by authorities revealed that the drugs he bought were not indeed class A drugs as he thought, but were, in fact, paracetamol and sugar. This revelation visibly amused some members of the jury.
Footage also showed Wright later coming back to the same street and hiding 24 canisters of laughing gas behind an Evening Standard newspaper stand. He claimed that those were for his own personal use as well.
Romario Dalton Wright is a student living in Shuttleworth hostel in Hackney. He admitted to having a drug addiction over the past few years, even though he claimed he was off it for a while. He would buy in Brixton in order to avoid people he knew in Hackney. He worked in a church to pay for the drugs.
The court heard that the 15 packets of cocaine and heroin would only last him about a week to ten days. It was also revealed by the prosecution that he had been arrested for selling drugs in 2015 and 2016. Romario had pleaded guilty to both instances in the past.
The case took an even stranger when the prosecution accused Wright of not only buying fake drugs but also reselling for further profit. The defendant denied this allegation.
This theory was further solidified when authorities found five mobile phones in his bag. He claimed that he was trying to sell the phones. Romario refused to reveal the passwords to the phones. The text messages that could be accessed, showed a drug negotiation taking place between him and another unknown person.
They believed that the alleged drugs were passed down by higher-ups, packaged and that the defendant is actually a low-level street dealer using the rest of the drugs to fuel his addiction.
Romario was charged with attempt to possess a controlled drug with an intent to supply. Even though the drugs weren’t real, according to the judge, ‘ “attempt” refers to the fact that while they weren’t class A drugs, but the defendant thought they were.’ He said that this meant whether or not they were actually class A drugs like coke and heroin was “immaterial” and that his intent was important in this case.
The judge called his story “cock and bull” and stated that Wright’s previous convictions in 2015 and 2016 proved that he did have a tendency to buy and sell drugs.
Nightlife in Brixton is one of the liveliest in London, being the home to the O2 Academy. However, in the past year, this area has had over 141 cases of drug-related crime. This only accounts for about 6% of all crime in Brixton. Of all crime in Brixton, about 30% of investigations end with no suspects being identified.