Brazilian drug dealing ring sentenced after largest haul of 'chemsex' drugs seized in London
Members of a Brazilian drug dealing ring have been jailed for supplying an estimated £3million worth of drugs to the London ‘chemsex’ scene, resulting in what is believed to be the largest-ever seizure of GBL in the capital.
Suellen Miguez, 36, Carlos Libardi Da Silva, 35, Bernardo Salles, 27, Diego Arruda Reis, 35, Dyego Melo Dos Passos, 32, and Isabella Braga Da Silva, 22, were all part of a network that sold drugs including heroin, cocaine, viagra, crystal meth, MDMA, Ketamine and GBL - widely used in ‘chemsex’ parties.
The estimated 2,200 litres of GBL seized by police was valued at around £2.2million and believed to be the largest-ever seizure of its kind in London.
The organised crime group used a high-tech delivery service where customers could get drugs quickly by moped-enabled deliveries or via courier service by parcels disguised with DHL or TNT labels. Santander bikes were also used to move the products around.
Customers could choose from 16 drugs with the menu card reading ‘delivery starts 13h. We don’t work Sundays’.
The network used Airbnb’s across the capital as temporary offices for the day to day running of the business where they would weigh, package and label the drugs ahead of distribution. Prior to this, the drugs were stored in storage facilities in Southwark, King’s Cross, Hoxton and Wandsworth.
The group coordinated their work through dedicated Whatsapp groups, including one specifically for ‘runners’ who would receive drop pins on where to take the drugs. They each aimed to make 30 deliveries a day.
Over the course of Wednesday, 24 March and Thursday, 25 March 2021 defendants Miguez, Libardi Da Silva, Salles, and Arruda Reis were each sentenced for numerous drug-related offences at Inner London Crown Court.
- Miguez was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
- Libardi Da Silva was sentenced to eight years in prison.
- Salles was sentenced to eight years in prison.
- Arruda Reis was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Co-defendants Dos Passos and Braga Da Silva were previously sentenced and received six years and eight months, and three years and eight months.
The police investigation showed there was some £2.4million put into bank accounts associated with the defendants - with over £960,000 paid into these accounts in cash. The drugs seized by police had also been valued at more than £3million if sold at street level.
Evidence showed that much of the proceeds were used to pay for dining at restaurants, property rentals, travel, car hire, leisure and entertainment as well as at luxury stores with more than £50,000 paid out at Harrods, Prada and Louis Vuitton.
In one message Salles wrote to a co-defendant: “The life I have here is totally different to the one in Brazil.”
Damaris Lakin, from the CPS, said: “This was a vast and highly sophisticated drug network operating as if it were a legitimate business.
"The couriers had rotas, they were paid a weekly wage, the operation had its own Airbnb offices and there were even ways to put forward employee suggestions and incentives for the month’s best drivers.
“There was also a menu of different drugs that customers could choose from and a customer could only purchase products from the network if they had been referred and recommended to the WhatsApp group by another member - as if part of some kind of members' club. As such, undercover police officers were unable to infiltrate the organisation.
“The prosecution case presented to the jury included phone evidence, CCTV footage and stills, journals, rotas and other documents demonstrating the defendants’ participation in drug conspiracies and money laundering. Many of the defendants were also caught ‘in the act’ close to or at the lock ups where the drugs were stored.
“These convictions have been successful in bringing down a major drug network responsible for the largest seizure of ‘chemsex’ drugs in London. I hope this results in far fewer illegal and unsafe drugs on our streets.”
Notes to editors
- Damaris Lakin is a Senior Crown Prosecutor within the Complex Casework Unit in CPS London South.