UK members of international criminal gang sentenced to jail for involvement in the illegal sale and supply of prescription medicines 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 Darrell 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.”
Find out more
MHRA safety advice when buying medicines online
Be careful when buying medicines online.
Medicines and medical devices are not ordinary consumer goods and their sale and supply is tightly controlled. Websites operating outside the legal supply chain may seem tempting, for example, offering a prescription medicine without a prescription. Not only are these sites breaking the law – they are putting your health at risk.
Do not self-prescribe.
Self-diagnosis and self-medication can be very dangerous. If you have a concern about your health, visit your GP, get a correct diagnosis and if medicines are prescribed, buy them from a legitimate source.
Visit the #FakeMeds website for tools and resources to help people purchase medication or medical devices safely online.
Notes to Editors
A prescription-only medicine has to be prescribed by a doctor or other authorised health professional and it has to be dispensed from a pharmacy or from another specifically licensed place. It is illegal to advertise prescription-only medicines to the public. Controlled drugs are drugs named in misuse of drugs legislation, the most common of which are on the controlled drugs list. The full lists can be found in both the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and schedules 1 to 5 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations (MDR) 2001.
The medicines and products sold between August 2013 and December 2015 were: painkillers Codeine, Tramadol and Zopiclone; tranquilisers Alprazolam and Diazepam; sleeping tablets Zolpidem; and erectile dysfunction products Apcalis, Aurogra, Caverta, Cialis, Erectalis, Intalis, Intimax, Kamagra, Levitra jellies, Levitra tablets, Lovegra, Silagra, Super P Force, Tadalafil and Viamax
A coordinated arrest and search operation took place on 8 September 2016 at the home addresses of the defendants. Grant Newton was arrested at Talke Road, Chesterton. Darrell Baggley was arrested at Cauldon Avenue, Newcastle Under Lyme. Callum Baggley was arrested at Falcon Road, Meir Park
Grant Newton and Callum Baggley pleaded guilty on 13 August 2021. Darrell Baggley pleaded guilty on 24 June 2022.
The #FakeMeds campaign is a public health campaign which aims to reduce the harm caused by purchasing fake, unlicensed or counterfeit medical products online. The #FakeMeds campaign site gives practical steps the public can take when purchasing medical products safely online. This includes purchasing from recognised sources and the product marks to look out for. Previous phases of the campaign have focused on fake erectile dysfunction (ED) medicines, dodgy diet pills and fake self-testing STI kits. Further advice and top tips to safe purchasing medicines and medical products online.