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A London Drug Gang's Selfies Are Sending Them to Prison

If you're a criminal, don't take photos of yourself doing criminal things.

Sophian Chhayra (left/right) and Zakaria Chentouf (center) took these selfies, and now they're going to prison.

Hey, what’s the dumbest reason you’ve ever been arrested? One time the police stopped me because I was playing frisbee in a public park at 11:00 PM. They didn’t understand why I was playing frisbee that late. In hindsight, I’m not sure I understood either. They took my address down and told me to go home. I got six chocolate bars on the way home and ate them all one after the other in bed, huddled in the fetal position, wondering if I’d ever eat a chocolate bar again once they inevitably packed me off to the big house. I woke up the next day resolutely unarrested. Thus concludes my only flirtation with jail.


But then I’m not Sophian Chhayra or Zakaria Chentouf, a pair of 24-year-olds who were sentenced to prison on Friday after the police seized their phones in dawn raids and found a bunch of selfies of them posing with soft, pillow-like bags of weed and wads of £50 ($80) notes (like the American $50 bill, the £50 note is the guiltiest of all the bank notes; find me a person with a £50 note in their pocket and I’ll show you a drug dealer, a bank robber, or a stockbroker). The two were part of a drug gang operating in the Chelsea and Kensington areas that had been under police surveillance since December last year, after the police realized that a string of violent attacks were linked to West London gang beef.

Detective Constable Helen Thomas said ahead of the sentencing: “These convictions are a real win for the communities of Kensington and Chelsea and its residents, who have been blighted by the intolerable annoyance of this gang.” Ugh, violent drug gangs are just so annoying.

“These individuals used their mobile phone cameras to gloat about their success in illegal trade,” she added. “This pride helped secure their undoing, and these photos provided compelling evidence at court.”

S, what have we learned from this? Well, if you're a criminal, it's probably not a great idea for you to take photos of yourself doing criminal things, though in fairness Chhayra and Chentouf aren't the first not to heed this lesson. Take South London's Get Money Gang, for example, who go one step further and actually upload their #humblebrags about avoiding stabbings to Twitter; or the Rio drug dealers and Mexican cartels who love flaunting their massive, massive guns on Instagram; or the British jihadits who use social media to make their trips to Syria look like vacations.

These—along with "don’t do crime, it’s illegal"—are all options available to the young, ambitious thugs of the world. Good luck out there, kids.

Follow Joel Golby on Twitter.