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Prosecuting crimes involving drugs

The legal restrictions placed on the use of controlled drugs are aimed at preventing drug abuse. The principal offences relating to the misuse of controlled drugs are contained in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971

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Five sentenced for pioneering production of BMK


Five men have today been sentenced at Warrington Crown Court for setting up a laboratory used to produce a synthetic substance called BMK. This is the first time that this method of BMK manufacture has been detected in the UK or continental Europe. BMK is not a controlled drug but is used to make amphetamine.

Elizabeth Jenkins, senior lawyer for the CPS Organised Crime Division, said: "These defendants were not run-of-the-mill drug dealers, this was pioneering work.

"The group's leader, Jonathan Buckley, oversaw a sophisticated operation which involved flying two Chinese chemists into the UK to work on the production of BMK in Warrington. A significant sum of money had been invested in the enterprise.

"The intention was clear: to produce for themselves vast quantities of a substance called BMK, a central ingredient for dangerous and illegal amphetamines. They hoped that by bringing the production in-house and producing a synthetic substance which is not in itself illegal, they would escape detection and the eye of the law.

"This case sends a strong message to those who seek to make money from the misery of drugs with ever more sophisticated methods."


Jonathan Buckley, Paul Preston, Jichang Zhang, Yougan Hu and Richard Pheby all admitted production of a Class B controlled drug (amphetamine) on January 22 2013. Pheby also admitted cannabis cultivation. They pleaded guilty on 22 January 2013.

Today Buckley was given a seven-year jail sentence, Preston was given a five-year jail sentence, while Zhang and Hu were given three-year jail terms. Pheby was sentenced to five years, with a further four months consecutive for cannabis cultivation.

Substances were sourced from abroad in order to make the BMK. The defendants rented a unit under a false name in Newton-le-Willows, near Warrington, where the laboratory was set up.