WhatsApp drug dealer convicted using fingerprints taken from photo

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Police in South Wales have arrested a drug dealer based on a WhatsApp message with a photograph of the dealer’s hand holding an assortment of pills, according to a report from the BBC.

Despite that the photo only offers a glimpse of a small part of the dealer’s fingerprints — which weren’t entirely useful in actually locating the dealer — forensic scientists were able to use those pieces to confirm that the identity of the suspect matched the person police officers had apprehended.

According to Dave Thomas, a representative of the South Wales Police’s scientific support unit, the 11 arrests made through the bust mark the first convictions in Wales based on fingerprints from a photo. It also speaks to the improvement in smartphone camera technology over the past few years, where seemingly innocuous pictures are now detailed enough to serve as forensic evidence when it comes to identifying people.