£9.8 million to be seized from man who produced steroids on commercial scale
Mohammed Afzal who was convicted as part of a conspiracy to produce commercial quantities of illegal medical drugs has been ordered to pay back millions of pounds or face 10 extra years in prison.
Today (17 November 2023) at the Central Criminal Court he was ordered to pay a Confiscation Order of £9.8 million to retrieve the ill-gotten gains he accumulated from producing and selling unlicensed anabolic steroids. Afzal was convicted in 2019. He was found guilty of conspiring to manufacture anabolic steroids and was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment .
Afzal was convicted as part of the NCA investigation Operation Italici, as one of five defendants who were variously convicted of illegally importing and producing unlicensed drugs. Between March 2009 and April 2015, three of Afzal’s co-defendants, Jacob Sporon Fielder, Nathan Selcon and Gurjaipal Dhillon illegally imported drugs made by Sporon-Fiedler’s companies in India. In total 49 shipments were identified, amounting to 15,921.50kg of unlicensed anabolic steroids at a total value of £11,937,754.
Between March 2014 and March 2015, Afzal, along with two co-conspirators, Alexander MacGregor and Nathan Selcon manufactured their own branded anabolic steroids by setting up a purpose-built laboratory in a container located at Macgregor’s business premises near Heathrow Airport. Inside the laboratory raw powder was converted into a liquid solution that could be injected and sold in vials or into tablets.
Since their convictions between 2018/2019, the CPS Proceeds of Crime Division (POCD) have worked closely with the National Crime Agency to trace and freeze the proceeds of crime gained from this operation and have, between the individual orders given to all five defendants, achieved a confiscation total of over £11.8 million.
Tom Cawley of the CPS Proceeds of Crime Division, said:
“This case involved the production and importation of a vast quantity of unlicensed anabolic steroids which in turn generated enormous criminal wealth.
“Collaborative working between the NCA and the CPS led to the successful prosecution of all five members of this destructive operation and asset recovery proceedings were challenging as many of the defendants sought to hide or deny ownership of assets.
“Afzal sought to initially claim his assets were limited to around £70,000 but as result of tenacious investigative work the NCA and CPS POCD were able to identify and freeze assets held in the UK and overseas, held by him and in the names of third parties to the value of £9.8 million, using the powers available to us under the Proceeds of Crime Act.”
“I am proud of the £11.8 million we have worked hard to retrieve from these defendants and hope today’s confiscation sends a strong message to criminals; there is nowhere to hide from investigation and prosecution.”
Rob Burgess, Regional Head of Investigation at the National Crime Agency (NCA), said:
“I’m delighted the court has ordered this confiscation. Afzal sought to conceal, obfuscate and delay at every turn during these proceedings in a bid to frustrate them.
“But the NCA’s financial investigation was painstaking and thorough, leading to this large amount being identified, frozen and recovered.
“It demonstrates our determination to go after the proceeds of crime and stop those involved in organised criminality from benefitting financially.”
In the last five years over £480m in criminal assets have been recovered in respect of CPS prosecutions stopping thousands of criminals benefiting from their ill-gotten gains. £105m of that amount has been returned to victims by way of compensation.
Notes to editors
• Tom Cawley is a Specialist Prosecutor of the CPS Proceeds of Crime Division which sits within the Serious Economic and Organised Crime International Directorate (SEOCID).
• Mohammed Afzal (DOB: 20/08/1984) Found guilty of conspiring to manufacture Anabolic Androgenic Steroids; sentenced to two years in prison on 14 November 2019 has received a Confiscation Order of £9.8 million to be paid within three months with 10 years in default.
• Jacob Sporon-Fielder (DOB: 22/01/1981) Pleaded guilty to conspiring to import Anabolic Androgenic Steroids, a controlled class-C drug; sentenced to five years four months in prison on 14 November 2019 received a Confiscation Order of £702,720.98 to be paid within three months with two years in default.
• Nathan Selcon (DOB: 30/07/1974) Found guilty of conspiring to manufacture Anabolic Androgenic Steroids and pleaded guilty to conspiring to import Anabolic Androgenic Steroids; sentenced to six years in jail on 14/11/2019 received a Confiscation Order of £2,658.69 to be paid within three months with two years in default.
• Alexander MacGregor (DOB: 22/11/1968) Found guilty of conspiring to manufacture Anabolic Androgenic Steroids; sentenced to 17 months in prison on 18 December 2020 received a Confiscation Order of £1,159,779.16 (which includes £400,000 in bank accounts and £350,000 in shares) to be paid within three months with two years in default.
• Gurjaipal Dhillon (DOB: 18/01/1954) Found guilty of conspiring to import Anabolic Androgenic Steroids; sentenced to five years in jail on 14 November 2019 a Confiscation Order of £167,800 to be paid within three months with two years in default.
Criminal confiscation proceedings:
After conviction, the CPS can ask the court to make a Confiscation Order where the judge will consider two things:
• The total financial ‘benefit’ that a defendant made from their criminal activity, both that convicted and based on assets acquired in the six years prior to conviction if the Defendant is unable to demonstrate they do not derive from criminal conduct.
• The total value of the available assets the defendant currently must pay their order
When the available amount is less than the benefit amount, the defendant is only ordered to pay the amount they have available to pay at the point the Confiscation Order is made.