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Man who used mother’s pharmacy as ‘criminal enterprise’ jailed for six years


By Isabel Shaw
Reporter

29 Jan 2020

A man has been sentenced to six years’ prison time for illegally supplying over £2m worth of prescription drugs from his mother’s pharmacy to a criminal organisation, the Government’s medicines watchdog has reported.

David Ihenagwa, 40, of Edmonton, north London, used Norlington Chemist in east London as a ‘criminal enterprise’, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said. 

He pleaded guilty to one charge of supplying class B drugs and four charges of supplying class C drugs on the 16th of September 2019 and was sentenced to six years imprisonment at Croydon Crown Court on Monday (27 January).

While working at the pharmacy as company secretary, Mr Ihenagwa purchased tablets from a licensed wholesaler in Surrey, then sold the drugs onto gangs, who would collect the drugs from the pharmacy and ship them around the country by the vanload, the MHRA said. 

Mr Ihenagwa’s criminal activities were only discovered after MHRA seized 13,440 Codeine Phosphate tablets from an address in Stoke-on-Trent on 8 June 2016. These were then traced back to the pharmacy, it said. 

Investigation

It was then discovered that Mr Ihenagwa frequency purchased ‘far larger’ quantities of prescription drugs than would normally be dispensed from a pharmacy, the watchdog said. Further investigations later revealed that he had bought over 1.6 million prescription tablets, and sold these on at least 23 separate occasions to a criminal group. 

Mr Ihenagwa was charged with supplying class B drug Codeine Phosphate, and four class C drugs: Diazepam, Zopiclone, Lorazepam, and Tramadol. 

A Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) investigation will now take place to establish the profits made by Mr Ihenagwa, which could result in seizure of money and property. 

MHRA head of enforcement Mark Jackson, said: ‘It is a serious criminal offence to sell controlled drugs that are prescription-only medicines without a prescription.

‘Those who sell medicines illegally are exploiting vulnerable people and have no regard for their health. 

‘Prescription-only medicines are potent and should only be taken under medical supervision.’


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