What to Do If Your Dealer Is Caught With Your Number in His Phone


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What to Do If Your Dealer Is Caught With Your Number in His Phone

I asked a lawyer specialised in drug offences in Sweden how to avoid getting into trouble.

Flashback Forum is Sweden's internet landfill of political debate, crime investigations, celebrity gossip and detailed trip reviews. It's also home to the occasional news that your dealer and friends have been caught by the police. That same dealer you called last weekend to ask if he was able to swing by with "two."

If that's the case, it's quite possible that soon after reading that news, you'll get an incoming call from No Caller ID, which turns out to be a police officer who wants you to come down to the station for "a chat." Are you a suspect now? What if your mum finds out? What if you end up in prison? Is everything you and your mum worked so hard for all these years ruined? I called up lawyer Martin Cullberg who specialises in drug offences (among many things) to find out what to do if this happens to you.


Disclaimer: Drugs are bad and you shouldn't buy or take them. 

VICE: What kind of trouble am I in if my dealer is caught and the police find my number in his phone?
Martin Cullberg: No trouble at all. Not if it's only a matter of your phone number. However, if there are texts between you and the dealer that say things like "should we meet up and have a coffee" or "I'd like one" – you know, code texts – then we're talking. But if it's only a matter of a phone number, it shouldn't be a problem. If it was, the police would have to investigate this type of thing constantly and there's no time for that. But if they find suspect business texts, that's when you're in trouble.

Right. How much trouble exactly? 
You'd be called to a hearing. It's pretty common that there are texts about meeting up for a coffee, about the amount or something like that. If there's a cash point withdrawal within a short time frame after the text, and the withdrawn amount fits the current price for the ordered drug, that's when it becomes a problem.  Police also often tap dealers' phones. Even if texts seem innocent, contacts get called to the police station to explain themselves. Some people will immediately admit to being involved and decline seeing a lawyer. Other people state they have no idea what police are talking about – those people usually walk out of the station pretty quickly.

How interested are the police in catching dealers' customers this way? 
They're definitely interested in some cases. Taxi Tony was a pretty famous case in Stockholm – a bunch of guys had a taxi business as a cover for a cocaine business. The dealers' phones were searched, and the police identified as many buyers as possible and tried everyone. It's happened a couple of times recently, it's actually getting more common.

Illustration by Timo ter Braak.

Illustration by Timo ter Braak.

What do you get charged with when that happens?
You could go to prison if you buy one gram of cocaine. The limit for imprisonment in Sweden for cocaine is actually 0,6 gram. If you're caught having bought that or more, you'll be charged with a usual drug offence and a one-month prison sentence. If police can't exactly prove how much someone has bought and the customer says nothing on the matter, they could get ringa [a minor offence]. That's also what you'd get if you state you only bought 0,4 gram or less.

How up to date are police with slang and code language? 
People aren't as clever as they think they are. Dealers often use the same vocabulary with their customers. Like, "should we grab a coffee", or something. It's pretty obvious for police what kind of language dealers and customers speak when they're doing business.

How often do you get calls from worried customers because they've heard that their dealer has been caught? 
I get quite a lot of calls, but I usually deal with people who are suspects of bigger offences. And I have a few clients who are wrongly accused of having bought cocaine.

So if the police contact me because my phone number is on a dealer's phone, what do you recommend I do? 
If you're friends with a dealer and have been texting about private stuff – and you're a hundred percent sure you have nothing to hide – then just go to get questioned by police and don't worry too much. If police start asking questions that are a bit uncomfortable, ask if you're a suspect now. If you are, you should demand to see a lawyer. You can always bring a lawyer – it can be totally worth it.