Gregory King, 26, was convicted of conspiracy to supply controlled drugs and encouraging or assisting the supply of a class A controlled drug at the Old Bailey on Thursday
Gregory King, 26, would blend bulking agents in grubby lockup, making so much that he had to use a mini-cement mixer to break up slabs of chemicals.
….’moved 50 kilos of benzocaine in just one transaction, compared to world’s biggest pharmaceutical company, Glaxo Smith Klein, which used just 25 kilos for its entire global production last year.’
The agents, which included be benzocaine, paracetamol, caffeine and lidocaine, were then sold online for huge profits.
King, from Wetherby, West Yorkshire, claimed he had legitimate clients and was selling to research pharmacists, dentists and laboratories at £100-per-kilo.
But he was found guilty of conspiracy to supply controlled drugs and encouraging the supply of Class A drugs at the Old Bailey on Thursday.
Judge Anuja Dhir QC said he faces an inevitable jail term when he is sentenced on May 6.
King was arrested after Desmond Bellamy, 33, was stopped having collected a 50 kilo purchase from King’s lockup.
He was alleged to have said to pass on 25 kilos to a henchman of London-based Alfred Henaj and Renato Pulaj, both 35, before continuing on to Southampton.
Bellamy was arrested at a service station on the M3 in June 2014 with 25 kilos of benzocaine and $5,000 in cash.
He was acquitted of drugs charges after insisting he had no idea of the contents of the barrels he had collected from King’s lockup and that he never asked questions of his mysterious boss.
Henaj was found guilty of conspiracy to supply controlled drugs and also faces a lengthy jail term, while Pulaj was acquitted of all charges.
Benzocaine, although not illegal, is the cutting agent of choice for cocaine dealers because it can be used at a ratio of 50/50 with no loss of quality.
Like cocaine, the antiseptic has a mild numbing effect, and is commonly used in very small quantities in mouth gels.
Prosecutor Janet Weeks said: ‘Glaxo Smith Klein, which is the world’s biggest supplier used 25 kilos in their entire global production last year. That gives you an idea of its use in very, very diluted quantities.
Benzocaine is a mild local anesthetic which is commonly used in throat tablets and gels – it is favoured by cocaine producers as it does not affect the quality of the drug. Paracetamol is also used to cut cocaine, making smaller amounts of the drug go further
‘Mr King, in just one day, was selling 50 kilos and over the period of the indictment you’re looking at nearly 1.5 tonnes.’
King claimed he was supplying to laboratories and research pharmacists and also to manufacturers of legal highs.
But King had previous warnings from the Serious Crime Agency about his activities, after they had seized shipments addressed to him from UK ports and airports, jurors heard.
Despite the warnings, King set up a new website, Benz Shop Ltd, in July 2012, which only sold Benzocaine.
His lockup was coated in dust and he used a grubby mini-cement mixer and a trowel to break up the chemical.
Ms Weeks said: ‘Because of the way he stores his chemicals, the Crown says it is clear he has no legitimate clients who needed their chemicals to be in an uncontaminated form.’
‘It was going to class A drug suppliers who have no concern for the health consequences of the end user.’
Father-of-three King is expected to get a prison sentence when he returns to court on May 6
Bellamy was arrested after driving all the way to the West Yorkshire market town of Wetherby from Southampton to collect 50 kilos of the chemical.
He took his partner and three daughters along for the ride and said he didn’t get suspicious when his boss asked him to make a diversion to London on the way home to meet two unnamed men.
He was directed to the top storey of a Morrison’s car park in Holloway, where he handed over 25 kilos to two henchmen of Henaj.