Three men, two from Harrow Weald, have been convicted for running a large-scale drugs factory in Acton, according to a press release from the Metropolitan Police’s Cyber Crime Unit.
The men were found guilty of producing and selling benzodiazepines, a type of sedative and Class C drug, after the unit led an investigation based on intelligence received from the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that the men were selling pharmaceutical drugs on the dark web.
Allen Valentine, his son Roshan Valentine and childhood friend Krunal Patel were operating under the guise of a company called Puzzle Logistics Limited, which was formed in 2016. The men were producing, packaging and supplying the drugs from a warehouse unit at Acton Business Park.
The men made at least £3.5 million in illicit profit from the drugs, which they sold through several accounts on different dark web markets. Users purchased the drugs on the dark web, paying in cryptocurrency, which were then posted.
Detectives began the investigation in January 2022, and they discovered the three men were visiting the unit on a daily basis, often staying for much of the day. Krunal Patel would frequently leave with large bags, returning 10 to 15 minutes later without the contents of the bags.
On 17 August 2022, Krunal Patel was arrested near to the warehouse, with 15 parcels labelled for posting to addresses across the UK. Inside those parcels were tablets imprinted “Xanax” and “Teva,” both brand names for licensed medicines within the benzodiazepine group. Roshan and Allen Valentine were arrested later that same day.
Officers searched the warehouse and found a concealed laboratory where a large amount of equipment and several containers of chemical substances were discovered, along with numerous crates of pills manufactured on site. The pills were analysed and found to contain Class C drugs from the Benzodiazepine group, including Deschloroetizolam, Flubromazepam, Bromazolam and Flualprazolam.
Allen Valentine, from Harrow, claimed he was a doctor and has qualifications in pharmacy, but investigations are ongoing to verify his claims. All three men were charged with conspiracy to produce Class C drugs and money laundering offences on 19 August 2022 and were remanded in custody.
Krunal Patel also from Harrow and Roshan Valentine from Northwood pleaded guilty to charges including conspiracy to produce and supply controlled drugs of Class C, while Allen Valentine pleaded not guilty and was found guilty after a trial at Isleworth Crown Court. They will be sentenced at a later date, and a confiscation hearing to legally obtain their illegal profits will take place in due course.
Detective Constable Alex Hawkins, of the Met’s Cyber Crime Unit, said: “The three men ran a sophisticated, large-scale production of fake pharmaceutical drugs sold on the dark web that appeared to be genuine. Their operation was solely for the greed of those involved bearing no concern for the vulnerabilities of those purchasing these drugs.
“Some of the drugs contained completely different chemicals from those which should be in the genuine tablets; some of them are extremely dangerous.
“This is the first seizure of those chemicals in the UK and as such legislation will be amended later this year to include these drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act as Class A substances. Stopping the manufacturing of these drugs has removed a significant risk to the public.
“We would like to thank pharmaceutical companies Viatris and Teva UK for assisting the Met in our investigation and supporting our prosecution against these dangerous and fraudulent men.
“I’d urge anyone to seek medical advice and obtain a prescription for medication through a doctor. If you buy from the dark web there is no guarantee what is in the substances, as with this case.”