JAILED: Jake Levine, Mandy Lowther and Lee Childs (NCA)
THREE men who sold set up a "Breaking Bad" style lab to produce potentially lethal drugs fentanyl more potent carfentanyl that they sold across the globe via the dark web website "UK Bargains" have been jailed for a total of 43 and a half years.
Jake Levene, 22, Lee Childs, 45, and Mandy Christopher Lowther, 21, were sentenced at
BREAKING BAD: The trio operated from this makeshift lab (above) in a unit in Peel Street, Morley (top) (NCA)
Leeds Crown Court after pleading guilty to exporting and supplying class A drugs.
They mixed fentanyl – which is up to 100 times stronger than morphine - and its analogue carfentanyl – which is 10,000 times stronger, with bulking agents at an industrial unit in Peel Street in Morley, Leeds.
They sold 2,853 items to 443 customers worldwide with 172 in the UK. Between December 2016 and April 2017 they turned over £163,474.
National Crime Agency (NCA) investigators identified that six British people from their customer list died from issues related to fentanyl consumption, although it cannot be said with certainty the fentanyl they took was supplied by the three.
Kathy Livick, whose son Charlton (Charlie) lost his life aged 33, said: "If I knew that one person had decided not to take a drug off the dark web, or indeed a drug at a concert, or a festival, that they didn't know the potency of, or the dose of, that would be enough for me."
GLOBAL: Gang used laptop to access the dark web (top) and were filmed posting deliveries (above) (NCA)
NCA Senior Investigating Officer Graham Roberts said: “Not only is it potentially lethal for those taking it, these drugs pose a serious danger to all those that come into contact with them, be that first responders like law enforcement and medical staff, or in this case, postal staff.”
Just 100 grams (3.5oz) of carfentanyl is enough for 1,000 doses for users seeking a heroin substitute. It is so dangerous if inhaled that investigators wear biohazard suits and respirators while carrying out searches.
DEAD: Charlie Livick was a customer of the gang who died through fentanyl abuse (Family pic)
Fentanyl has been blamed for more than 100 UK overdose deaths and dealers have set up “dark net” websites to sell to countries including the United States, where the drug has been responsible for thousands of fatalities.
Levene, Childs and Lowther worked from an industrial unit in Morley, posting drugs to people in the UK, US, Germany, Norway, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Canada, France, Singapore, Holland and Spain.
EVIL: Powders (above and top) found at the factory to make potentially deadly drugs (NCA)
During a raid, investigators discovered 677 grams (1.5lbs) of pure carfentanyl – equal to millions of lethal doses. It emerged that Lowther overdosed while making the product last February and ended up in a coma. He recovered and continued the deadly operation.
In February 2018 Kyle Enos, 25, of Gwent, was jailed for eight years for a dark web fentanyl bedroom operation. Four of his customers died from overdoses.