Leeds man who was ‘major player’ in UK drugs trade jailed for 18 years

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A MAN who used his online chemical supply businesses to sell large quantities of cutting agents to drug dealers has been jailed for 18 years.

Gregory King dealt mainly in the pharmaceutical drug benzocaine, and bought 1.2 tonnes of it between April 2013 and January 2014. The chemical is a dental anaesthetic which is popular for bulking cocaine.

Over a two year period, King supplied benzocaine, as well as lidocaine, phenacetin, caffeine, paracetamol and aspirin, to drug dealers throughout the UK and internationally.

Detective Inspector Jaz Khan, of Leeds District Serious Organised Crime Unit, said: “King’s large-scale supply of cutting agents from his lock-up in Wetherby played a major part in the drugs trade across the UK.

“A detailed and comprehensive investigation by my officers produced the bulk of the evidence against him. We linked with a number of other forces and supported the work of the Organised Crime Partnership to see him brought to justice.”

The 1.2 tonnes of purchased by King had the potential to be mixed at a ratio of 1:1 with cocaine to create in excess of two tonnes of cocaine for the wholesale market.

Ten kilos of benzocaine costing approximately £3,000, mixed with ten kilos of cocaine costing approximately £350,000, generates a potential return of £750,000.

King, 27, of York Place, Wetherby, was initially arrested by West Yorkshire Police in January 2014.

Large quantities of cutting agents, some in jiffy bags ready for postage, were seized from his lock-up in Wetherby. He was released on bail but continued to operate.

In June 2014 police recovered barrels of benzocaine that were delivered to a dealer in London and en route to another buyer via the M3. Detectives traced the drugs back to Bellamy.

Following an investigation by the National Crime Agency and the Metropolitan Police Service’s Organised Crime Partnership, King was convicted of conspiracy to supply class A drugs at the Old Bailey. He was also found guilty of encouraging or assisting an offence, knowing or believing one would be committed, by supplying cutting agents between July 2012 and January 2014.

Andy Tickner, from the Organised Crime Partnership, said: “Gregory King helped the illegal drugs trade make millions of pounds in profits.

“The quantity of cutting agents he was supplying would have had a wider impact on the availability and purity of cocaine on the streets of the UK, bringing the price down to a level which made it accessible to more users, and exposed more people to risk.”

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