There comes a point in most people's careers where you look down and think, How did I get here, and what exactly am I doing? It might come from a sense of mild surprise at how well things are going – a sort of Wolf of Wall Street-esque freeze frame in the middle of a quaalude and champagne-fuelled yacht party. It might be more of an existential crisis. You'd glance absentmindedly across the office at the printer, or look down at the set of tools you've picked up at the start of each working day for the past 19 years, and try to remember what it meant to feel something.
Or, in the case of a man in Birmingham, it might just be the moment police have a fumble inside your trousers and find the 33 wraps of heroin and cocaine you've hidden in your pants We'll never quite know what was going through the mind of Dipak Ram, 33, when police strip-searched him. But after the cops had found 19kg of coke, crack and heroin stuffed into "the base of a settee in [his] flat", he and 32-year-old accomplice Dean Smith were on Friday both sentenced to a collective 21 years in jail for possessing and intending to supply a sizeable stash of class A drugs.
"Smith and Ram were spotted loitering around a parked car which had the boot open ... and [the police's] suspicions were heightened when Ram took hold of a bag and walked off," said detective constable Kelly Whyte. "It acted as the catalyst for us to uncover a huge stash of drugs with a total street value estimated to be more than £3 million."
A quick bag switch in a car park helped unravel Ram and Smith's deal. West Midlands Police officers had spotted the pair "acting suspiciously around a vehicle" near a block of flats on the 9th of March. One of the officers then followed Ram, after he'd picked up a bag from the boot of the car Smith was driving.
Police searched the car, and found about 13kg of high-grade coke in the boot – with an estimated street value of £1.3 million, they say – before going on to search Ram's flat. That's when everything kicked off even more. The police say they found that 19kg of drugs in Ram's sofa and cupboards, as well as about £31,000 in cash, in a little zip-up bag. The drugs looked to be helpfully labeled things like "BMW" and "Bell".
But back to the pants. Once police took Ram into custody, they searched him and found a further few hundred quid worth of heroin and coke organised neatly in wraps and positioned in his underwear.
"This was a professional, sophisticated, wholesale drug enterprise with various drugs, including heroin and cocaine, cut and weighed into amounts varying from street deals up to several kilos," Whyte said. "Both Smith and Ram boasted of their extravagant lifestyles and used the proceeds of their drug dealing to fund trips abroad and buy expensive jewellery."
Smith's version of events differed from Whyte's perception of the operation as one both slick and extravagant. In interview, he told police he was in debt and had been offered £1,200 to make two drug runs, according to the police press release. Either way, Ram's probably not going to soon forget that one 'let me take stock for a second here' moment.