Dad, son and friend caught running huge £3.5m Ealing drugs factory
‘Their operation was solely for the greed of those involved bearing no concern for the vulnerabilities of those purchasing these drugs’
Three men have been jailed after making £3.5 million running a huge drugs factory in Ealing. Allen Valentine, his son Roshan Valentine and childhood friend Krunal Patel were producing and selling Benzodiazepines, a type of sedative, which is a Class C drug.
The trio had several accounts on different dark web markets and advertised the sale of Xanax, Diazepam and, in the past, Valium. In January 2022, the three men were visiting a warehouse unit at Acton Business Park, where the drugs were produced, packaged and supplied.
The men were operating under the guise of a company called Puzzle Logistics Limited, which was formed in 2016. Each of the men visited the unit on a daily basis, often staying for much of the day. Krunal Patel would frequently leave with large bags, returning 10 to 15 minutes later without the contents of the bags.
Users would purchase the drugs on the dark web, paying in cryptocurrency, which were then posted. On August 17, 2022, Krunal Patel was arrested near to the warehouse, with 15 parcels labelled for posting to addresses across the UK.
Inside those parcels were tablets imprinted “Xanax” and “Teva”, both brand names for licensed medicines within the Benzodiazepine group. Roshan and Allen Valentine were arrested later that same day.
The warehouse was found to have a concealed laboratory where a large amount of equipment and several containers of chemical substances were discovered, along with numerous crates of pills manufactured on site. The pills were analysed and found to contain Class C drugs from the Benzodiazepine group including Deschloroetizolam, Flubromazepam, Bromazolam and Flualprazolam.
Allen Valentine told the jury he was a doctor and has qualifications in pharmacy, inquiries are currently ongoing to verify the claims.
Detective Constable Alex Hawkins, of the Met’s Cyber Crime Unit led the investigation. He said: “The three men ran a sophisticated, large-scale production of fake pharmaceutical drugs sold on the dark web that appeared to be genuine. Their operation was solely for the greed of those involved bearing no concern for the vulnerabilities of those purchasing these drugs.
“Some of the drugs contained completely different chemicals from those which should be in the genuine tablets; some of them are extremely dangerous. This is the first seizure of those chemicals in the UK and as such legislation will be amended later this year to include these drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act as Class A substances. Stopping the manufacturing of these drugs has removed a significant risk to the public.”
He continued: “We would like to thank pharmaceutical companies Viatris and Teva UK for assisting the Met in our investigation and supporting our prosecution against these dangerous and fraudulent men. I’d urge anyone to seek medical advice and obtain a prescription for medication through a doctor. If you buy from the dark web there is no guarantee what is in the substances, as with this case.”
Krunal Patel, 40, of Carmalite Road in Harrow, and Roshan Valentine, 39, of Hilliard Road, Northwood pleaded guilty to a string of drug and money laundering offences. Allen Valentine, 62, of Kynaston Wood in Harrow, pleaded not guilty to the same offences and was found guilty on Tuesday, May 9.
They will be sentenced on a date to be determined. A confiscation hearing to legally obtain their illegal profits will take place in due course.