Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : UK members of international criminal gang sentenced to jail for involvement in the illegal sale and supply of prescription medicines valued at £3.7m [March 2023]

The press release issued by the Home Office on 13 March 2023.

Three members of an organised criminal gang were sentenced today (13 March 2023) at Stoke Crown Court to jail after pleading guilty to offences relating to the illegal sale of more than three million doses of prescription-only and unlicensed medicines, including controlled drugs, valued at £3.7m.

This followed a three-year investigation by the Criminal Enforcement Unit of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Between August 2013 and December 2015, Grant Newton (49), Darrell Baggley (56) and Callum Baggley (27) sold several million pounds worth of medicines such as codeine, Tramadol, Diazepam, Zolpidem and various erectile dysfunction drugs on three different websites.

During 2015, the Criminal Enforcement Unit at the MHRA received reports from members of the public that had not received their order and others expressing concerns about relatives buying products from these websites.

The MHRA investigated the websites and, supported by the police, carried out an arrest and search operation in 2016, seizing various digital devices and storage items. Subsequent analysis evidenced that the defendants had illegally supplied more than 3.2 million doses of medicines.

Grant Newton was described in court as leading the UK arm of the global gang, while Darrell Baggley managed the warehouse and distribution, and his son, Callum, managed the bank accounts as the director of the company at the forefront of the trade.

The defendants now face custodial sentences totaling 68 months.

  • Grant Newton and Darren Baggley both received 28 months in custody for one count of supplying Class B drugs, one count of supplying Class C drugs, one count of selling prescription-only medicines, one count of selling unauthorised medicinal products, and one count of being concerned in an arrangement which facilitated the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property.
  • Callum Baggley received 12 months in custody, suspended for 18 months and 200 hours unpaid work for one count of being concerned in an arrangement which facilitated the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property.

Andy Morling, MHRA Deputy Director of Criminal Enforcement, said:

“Criminals trading in medicines illegally are not only breaking the law, but they also have no regard for your safety. Taking powerful medicines such as these can lead to serious adverse health consequences. You should only take prescription-only medicines with appropriate medical supervision.

“This case involved a major criminal enterprise with truly global reach. Our investigation and this prosecution effectively shut down the UK operation and dealt a significant blow to an international criminal network.

“We work to detect and investigate suspected illegal activity involving medicines and medical devices so that patients can be confident the medication they need is acceptably safe.”

“We will continue to work tirelessly to protect your health by preventing illegal trading in medicines wherever we can, disrupting offending and bringing dangerous criminals to justice.”

Ben Reid, Specialist Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said:

“This gang created a significant risk to the public’s health by illegally selling controlled drugs and prescription medicines which can cause serious side effects. There is a reason drugs and medicines are strictly regulated and prescription drugs should only be taken under medical supervision.

“The CPS is working closely with the MHRA to bring offenders like these, who profit from the illegal sale of drugs and put vulnerable people at risk, to justice.”