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Three convicted over £3.5bn drug-cutting scam

Category: England

Published: 22nd Nov 2011 18:07:11

Three men have been convicted of leading a multibillion-pound drug cutting ring to produce huge amounts of substandard cocaine.

Jamie Dale, John Cawley and Barry Hartley were found guilty of three counts of conspiracy to supply after a two-month trial at Leeds Crown Court.

It's fair to say that if someone has snorted cocaine since 2008, they have snorted some of Dale's product”

They imported more than 36 tonnes of cutting agent before selling powder on to dealers at about £1,000 a barrel.

The value of their scam was estimated at more than £3.5bn.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) said this was a conservative estimate.

Dale, 32, of Claymere Avenue, Rochdale, Greater Manchester; Cawley, 31, of Forshaw Close, Fleetwood, Lancashire and Hartley, 63, of Cog Lane, Burnley, Lancashire, were caught after an undercover operation by officers who marked stocks of chemicals bought by the trio.

John Wright, who led the four-year police operation leading to their conviction, said: "The scale of their operation was remarkable.

"It's fair to say that if someone has snorted cocaine since 2008, they have snorted some of Dale's product."

As a result of the operation, more than 21 raids have been carried out across the UK including in Bristol Bournemouth, Rotherham and Edinburgh.

The gang set up their business by posing as pharmacies to purchase chemicals including benzocaine, lidocaine and procaine from unwitting companies.

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BBC News, 2011. Three convicted over £3.5bn drug-cutting scam [Online] (Updated 22nd Nov 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/204510/Three-convicted-over-3-5bn-drug-cutting-scam [Accessed 23rd Apr 2014]

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