Wakefield dealer helped run dark web business selling drugs around the world

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A drug-dealing trio who ran a dark web business which sold potentially deadly narcotics around the world were told their actions had brought “misery” as they were sentenced to serve a total of more than 40 years in jail.

Lee Childs, 45, Jake Levene, 23, and Mandy Lowther, 22, were yesterday told by a Leeds Crown Court judge that they had run a “sophisticated operation” involving the mass distribution of dangerous substances.

Operating under the name UKBargins, the trio sold fentanyl, a drug prescribed for severe pain relief and is said by the National Crime Agency to be around 50 times stronger than heroin, as well as carfentanyl, described as being considerably stronger.

The court heard how the business, which generated £163,474 in five months, sold to customers as far away as Australia, Canada, Argentina and Singapore, operating from an industrial unit in Peel Street, Morley, where they mixed the drugs with bulking agents and packaged them.

Levene, of Turner Close, Wakefield, and Lowther, of Cottingley Springs, Morley, were jailed for 16-and-a-half years each, and Childs, of Bedale Court, Morley, Leeds, was handed a 10-and-a-half-year jail term.

Passing sentence, Judge Mushtaq Khokhar said: “This was a sophisticated operation. Small, I accept, but nevertheless sophisticated because one only has to look at what officers found when they raided the unit. Drugs cause misery, not only on those who have an affliction to them, but to those close to them.”

Paul Mitchell, prosecuting, told the court the trio were aware of the potentially fatal nature of the drugs they were selling, and their website ran the disclaimer: “I will not give any information about fentanyl or its analogues as the customer should already have [researched] these che icals before even contemplating using them as they are extremely dangerous and lethal in the wrong hands.”