Gang members who made millions illegally selling prescription medication have been sentenced
Three gang members who made £3.7m from illegally selling controlled drugs and prescription medicines online have been sentenced.
Grant Newton, 49, Darrell Baggley, 56, and Callum Baggley, 27, were part of an organised criminal gang who illegally sold medicines and drugs through websites between August 2013 and December 2015.
At Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court, yesterday, Grant Newton and Darrel Baggley were both sentenced to two years and four months imprisonment. Callum Baggley was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and a requirement to complete 200 hours unpaid work.
The CPS brought charges against the trio following an investigation by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The drugs were marketed by three websites. The medicines included painkillers, sleeping tablets, tranquilizers and various erectile dysfunction drugs. These drugs can have harmful side effects and are therefore regulated by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and the Human Medicines Regulations 2012.
Customers self-diagnosing and purchasing drugs to self-medicate can be dangerous. Many prescription-only medicines currently have the potential to result in addiction and can have serious adverse side effects. However, when these are appropriately prescribed there are measures in place to reduce this risk including restrictions on the dose or duration of treatment.
Money from the orders was directed to the personal accounts of the three defendants and the company account of Assist Medical Ltd., for which Callum Baggley was a director. In total, there were 63,950 separate unlawful sales of controlled drugs, prescription medicines and unauthorised medicinal products from the websites, generating more than £3,740,000.
Newton was the overall manager of the UK end of the criminal enterprise and Darrell Baggley managed the warehouse and distribution side of the illegal business. They were both charged with one count of supplying Class B drugs (codeine), one count of supplying various Class C drugs, one count of selling prescription-only medicines, one count of selling unauthorised medicinal products and one count of being concerned in a money laundering arrangement.
Callum Baggley, son of Darrell Baggley, was involved, but not in a ‘front of house’ role. He opened and managed bank accounts used by the group and was the director of the company at the forefront of the trade. He was charged with one count of being concerned in a money laundering arrangement.
Newton and Callum Baggley pleaded guilty in August 2021 but their co-accused, Darrell Baggley, pleaded guilty on 24 June 2022, four weeks ahead of the trial date.
Ben Reid, Specialist Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service, 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.”
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 the CPS prosecution effectively shut down the UK operation and dealt a significant blow to an international criminal network.
“We 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.”
“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.”
The CPS is committed to continue to work alongside the MHRA to bring prosecutions where medicines are being sold illegally.
Notes to editors
- Ben Reid is a Specialist Prosecutor for the CPS Serious Economic Organised and International Directorate (SEOCID)
- SEOCID was launched on 1 April 2022 and is the CPS response to the changing nature of crime by bringing together specialists in organised and economic crime as the lines in this criminality is being blurred even more
- Grant Newton (DOB: 27/03/73) was charged with 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 at Stoke Crown Court
- Darrell Baggley (DOB: 30/07/66) was charged with 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 at Stoke Crown Court
- Callum Baggley (DOB: 15/12/94) was charged with one count of being concerned in an arrangement which facilitated the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property at Stoke Crown Court