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Drug Dealer's Fingerprints Lifted From Photos on WhatsApp

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

A cell phone might be a cop's new best friend.

It can't do what a police dog does, like sniff out evidence or chase down a suspect. But a cell phone can bust criminals as fast as they can snap a selfie.

Fools incriminate themselves by vanity all the time. A new twist in technology, however, shows how some drug dealers should have kept their hands away from the cell phone.

Photo Fingerprints

Law enforcement arrested members of a drug ring using fingerprints on a cell phone photograph. Investigators didn't even need the suspects' cell phone because the photo was posted on the messaging application, WhatsApp.

It happened after police arrested someone else who had a phone with the photo. It showed a man's hand, palm up, holding ecstasy tablets.

The science lab uploaded the image to run through a fingerprint data base. Acting on other information, officers located and arrested the man whose fingerprints matched the photograph.

"While the scale and quality of the photograph proved a challenge, the small bits were enough to prove he was the dealer," Officer Dave Thomas told the BBC. "It has now opened the floodgates and when there is part of a hand on a photograph, officers are sending them in."

Put Down the Phone

It's proof that a cell phone can be a dangerous thing, especially for lawbreakers.

Michael Taylor Gardner learned that lesson the very hard way. He gave his cell phone to a young woman, who then gave it to police.

The phone revealed Taylor had forced her into prostitution. That, plus some child porn, got him 10 years in prison.

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