A man who imported seven tonnes of powdered Benzocaine and other anaesthetics that were destined to be used to ‘cut’ and bulk up cocaine has been jailed for nine years.
Tarak Ahmed, 32, from Cephas Avenue, East London, denied a charge of supplying powdered substances that would assist the supply of Class A controlled drugs, but was found guilty by a jury at the Old Bailey on Thursday (6th June).
Officers involved in the case believe that if all the cutting agent had been used it would have helped produce cocaine with an estimated street value of £300 million.
City of London Police was alerted to Ahmed’s involvement with supplying substances for use in controlled drugs by the Serious Organised Crime Agency, which has a national remit to disrupt the supply of cutting agent chemicals.
The force began an investigation to establish Ahmed’s involvement and the scale of the offence.
Officers discovered that between December 2010 and February 2012, Ahmed imported and supplied various powdered substances, including Benzocaine and other anaesthetics. These powders were imported from China and India and distributed to fulfil orders all over the world through a website that Ahmed operated.
Benzocaine is most commonly used as a cutting agent in the production of cocaine.
Officers caught Ahmed receiving delivery of one tonne of Benzocaine to his storage unit in Dagenham on 15th February 2012. He was arrested and subsequently charged on 5th October 2012.
During the case, prosecuting barrister Neil Moore told the jury that the amount of pharmaceuticals imported by Ahmed, if mixed with cocaine, would create drugs with an estimated value of £300 million.
In passing sentence, Recorder Lodder stated that Ahmed’s actions had caused untold misery and that he was assisting with the distribution of drugs on an enormous scale in what he described as an ‘evil trade’.
Investigating officer DC Deborah O’Loughlin-Whitby said: “The sentence reflects the serious crime that Ahmed committed and is indicative of the impact and potential repercussions that could follow the production and distribution of Class A drugs. This investigation has served to disrupt the drugs supply chain.”

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