Three men in Leeds, England were recently sentenced to over 10 years in jail for their role in running a massive drug trafficking operation on the dark web.
Jake Levene, 23, and Mandy Lowther, 22, were both sentenced to 16.5 years in prison alongside accomplice Lee Childs, 45, who was sentenced to 10.5 years.
All three men were convicted due to their mass distribution of potentially lethal substances to a total of 443 customers across the world.
Some of the drugs the three criminals produced and distributed were 3,000 times more lethal than heroin.
It’s difficult to know the precise number of casualties, but their victim list currently counts at least six people.
From Leeds to Anywhere in the World
According to the U.K. National Crime Agency (NCA), the trio performed their criminal activities under the name “UKBargins.”
They sold the drug fentanyl, which is acknowledged as one of the strongest drugs in the world.
According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, fentanyl is considered to be at least 25 times stronger than heroin, as well as 50 times stronger than morphine.
The men also sold carfentanyl, which is characterized by experts as being at least 3,000 times stronger than heroin.
Peel Street in Morley, Leeds is the location of the unit where the three men mixed and packaged the drugs. From the station in Leeds, they distributed their goods across the world.
After the hearing in court Jan. 18, it was concluded the trio had clients in not only England and Europe, but Singapore, Australia, Argentina and Canada as well.
In five months, the dark web drug business generated around £163,474 in profits from selling over 2,800 packages to their customers.
Following the arrests, more than 635 grams of carfentanyl were found at their unit.
The Number of Victims Remains Unknown
As mentioned in court by the prosecutor, Paul Mitchell, all of the three men were completely aware of the drugs’ fatal nature.
They knew what they were selling, and their own website carried a disclaimer that indicated that the purchasers should already have researched the chemicals before they decide to buy, since they can be extremely dangerous if used by wrong hands.
Although the total number of deaths caused by the obtained fentanyl from Lowther, Childs and Levene, cannot be proven, their victim list currently counts six people, one of which is Charlton Livick.
Charlton, known as Charlie, died at the age of 33 in March 2017 after consuming carfentanyl supplied by the trio on the dark web.
Nevertheless, the customers were not the only victims. In February 2017, Lowther ended up in coma, hospitalized in Leeds Accident and Emergency.
Due to his exposure to these artificial narcotics, he’d suffered a hypoxic brain injury.
Three men who ran a dark web business selling the potentially lethal drugs fentanyl and its analogue carfentanyl to customers across the UK and worldwide, have been jailed for a total of 43 and a half years. Full story: https://t.co/X0I3QGaALe pic.twitter.com/0lVubWcYz1
— NationalCrimeAgency (@NCA_UK) January 18, 2019
The Arrests and Sentencing
Previous to their official arrests for the dark web drug business in 2017, all three of the men have already received two counts of supplying and exporting Class A drugs.
Each of the defendants have admitted to these counts in the period between December of 2016 and April of 2017.
In 2017 the defendants were arrested after the police raided their drug unit. Inside the facility, 2.6 kilograms of carfentanyl were seized.
The packages that the trio produced contained a maximum of 440 grams of carfentanyl each.
Judge Mushtaq Khokhar delivered sentences of 16.5 years for Lowther and Levene, while Childs was sentenced to a jail time of 10.5 years.
The lengthy prison sentences were decided because on the count that Lowther, Childs and Levene knew how dangerous the drugs were, yet still proceeded with their actions to enrich their finances.
Until now, the raid on the trio’s drug facility premises is considered to be Europe’s largest single seizure of fentanyl and carfentanyl.
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