Three brits who operated a dark web drug business are now in line for a jail sentence after admitting guilt to selling fatal fentanyl across the globe through a mail order system they set up. Those arrested included: 22-year-old Jake Levene, of Turner Close, Wakefield, 45-year-old Lee Childs of Bedale Court, Morley, Leeds and Mandy Christopher Lowther, a 21-year-old from Cottingley Springs, Morley, Leeds. They were arrested for selling fentanyl and its far more deadly analogue carfentanil with their vendor shop on the darknet marketplace UKBargins. This site alone has been connected to 120 related deaths in the United Kingdom since 2016, according to regional head of investigations the National Crime Agency (NCA), Greg McKenna.
McKenna spoke briefly on this case and that it concludes the closure of an organized crime group distributing extremely dangerous drugs all over the world. He added that the group had intensive knowledge of how lethal the drugs were and the damage they could cause, but committed felonies regardless of the outcome.
Reports from the NCA suggested that, prior to the arrest of these three men, fentanyl-related deaths had increased unprecedentedly around the globe. They sold drugs to customers from all over including Spain, France, Norway, Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Holland, and Germany. They reportedly sold 2,853 illegal substances to over 172 people in the UK as well as 271 across other countries. They made over £163,000.
Six of their clients were reported dead as a result of taking fentanyl. Lowther almost joined this list while making the pills back in February. A few mistakes led to him ingesting the drugs, subsequently falling into a coma with minor brain damage. He, however, didn’t quit the business despite his brush with death. He continued to produce and supply the deadly drug with the aid of the dark web.
The gang was situated in a mechanical unit in Morley, close to Leeds, where they built up the medications with different synthetic compounds. Investigators uncovered fentanyl, equipment for mixing and blending the drug, a vacuum sealer, funnels, digital scales, and 677g of pure carfentanil.
Levene and Lowther controlled the unit while Childs bundled and posted the drugs to clients. Childs was caught on cameras at different post offices.
Substantial duty gloves and two respirator masks, which the men wore to secure themselves while blending and bundling the drugs, were additionally found. A laptop which was also found in the unit displayed their dark web site “UKBargins” located within the AlphaBay dark web marketplace, which is now defunct.
Their website displayed the message: Welcome to UKBargins. Our products & their purity: Carfentanil – 99%. Butyr-Fentanyl – 98%. Furanyl-Fentanyl – 98%. 4-Fluoroisobutyrfentanyl – 98%. U-47700 – 99%. We also have a Fentanyl HCL /// Mannitol Mix & Furanyl-Fentanyl/// Mannitol Mix. An additional disclaimer read that they would not release information about their drugs more specifically than mentioned above. The customer was also warned to be experienced user before buying.
A “To do” list was also uncovered in Levene’s car which reminded him to “find new CF supplier” and also to pay his electricity bill, whiles text messages revealed Levene and Lowther arguing about the amount of work involved in packaging up the drugs.
Levene together with Childs had previously admitted to supplying and exporting class A drugs, with Lowther also admitting to the same charges last week at the Leeds Crown Court. The trio is set to return to court for sentencing on September 7.