International gang including UK criminals sentenced for illegal supply and sale of prescription drugs
The drugs valued at £3.7million ($4.5million) included codeine, Tramadol, Diazepam, Zolpidem, and various erectile dysfunction drugs.
The three members of the gang were sentenced today (March 13) at Stoke Crown Court, UK, after pleading guilty to offences.
This followed a three-year investigation by the Criminal Enforcement Unit of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Grant Newton, 49, Darrell Baggley, 56, and Callum Baggley, 27, sold the millions of doses between August 2013 and December 2015 on three different websites.
During 2015, the Criminal Enforcement Unit at the MHRA received reports from members of the public that had not received their order and others expressing concerns about relatives buying products from these websites.
The websites were investigated by the MHRA and with the support of the police, an arrest and search operation was carried out in 2016. During the operation, various digital devices and storage items were seized.
Once analyzed, it was evident the defendants had illegally supplied more than 3.2 million doses of medicines.
Grant Newton was described in court as leading the UK arm of the global gang, while Darrell Baggley managed the warehouse and distribution, and his son, Callum, managed the bank accounts as the director of the company at the forefront of the trade.
The defendants now face custodial sentences totaling 68 months.
Grant Newton and Darren Baggley both received 28 months in custody for one count of supplying Class B drugs, one count of supplying Class C drugs, one count of selling prescription-only medicines, one count of selling unauthorised medicinal products, and one count of being concerned in an arrangement which facilitated the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property.
Callum Baggley received 12 months in custody, suspended for 18 months and 200 hours unpaid work for one count of being concerned in an arrangement which facilitated the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property.
Andy Morling, MHRA deputy director of criminal enforcement, said: “Criminals trading in medicines illegally are not only breaking the law, but they also have no regard for your safety. Taking powerful medicines such as these can lead to serious adverse health consequences. You should only take prescription-only medicines with appropriate medical supervision.
“This case involved a major criminal enterprise with truly global reach. Our investigation and this prosecution effectively shut down the UK operation and dealt a significant blow to an international criminal network.
He said along with his team, he would work to detect and investigate suspected illegal activity involving medicines and medical devices so that patients can be confident the medication they need is acceptably safe.
Morling added: “We will continue to work tirelessly to protect your health by preventing illegal trading in medicines wherever we can, disrupting offending and bringing dangerous criminals to justice.”
Ben Reid, is a specialist prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: “This gang created a significant risk to the public’s health by illegally selling controlled drugs and prescription medicines which can cause serious side effects. There is a reason drugs and medicines are strictly regulated and prescription drugs should only be taken under medical supervision.
“The CPS is working closely with the MHRA to bring offenders like these, who profit from the illegal sale of drugs and put vulnerable people at risk, to justice.”