04:49PM, Thursday 14 November 2019
A Slough man who was part of a ‘prolific’ gang which imported and manufactured illegal anabolic steroids has been sentenced to two years in prison.
Mohammed Afzal, 35, of Belgrave Road, was sentenced today (Thursday) at London’s Old Bailey.
Afzal was found guilty, along with Nathan Selcon, 44, from Maidenhead, and Alexander MacGregor, 50, from Dorney, of conspiring to manufacture steroids on April 4 this year, following a two-month trial.
Delivering her sentence, Judge Angela Rafferty QC said Afzal was ‘linked to Unit 10’, the location of a laboratory used to produce drugs in Harmondsworth, near Heathrow Airport, and was seen on CCTV there.
“He did have the knowledge necessary to set up and use such premises,” Judge Rafferty said.
“The explanation to the jury, that he was assessing it, was rejected, and it is clear that he was there engaged with activity.
“He was clearly involved in organising commercial production in the container [Unit 10].”
The Judge said that Afzal and Selcon ‘would have had expectations of substantial financial gain’.
Border Force officers at Heathrow Airport seized about 600 kilos of the Class C drug in 2014, eventually linking it to Jacob Sporon-Fiedler, 38, the CEO of Indian-based company Alpha Pharma.
The Mumbai-based businessman worked with UK fixers, including Gurjaipal Dhillon, 65, from Southall, and Selcon, who arranged unlicensed shipments of drugs from India to Europe, before distributing them.
The estimated value of these imports was £12million and the gang’s conspiracy was worth £65million.
Selcon had links to Afzal and MacGregor, who had set up a purpose built laboratory to manufacture drugs.
National Crime Agency investigators were also able to prove links between the gang and another site in Slough – which had produced steroids worth about £10million – before it was raided by Thames Valley Police in 2009.
Sporon-Fiedler admitted conspiring to import steroids and Dhillon was found guilty of the same charge on June 5, in a separate trial.
Selcon had pleaded guilty to this charge and was the only defendant to be sentenced for both conspiracy to import and manufacture the drugs.
Afzal, Selcon, Sporon-Fiedler and Dhillon were sentenced at the same time today (Thursday).
Sporon-Fiedler was jailed for five years and four months, Selcon was given six years, and Dhillon five years.
MacGregor will be sentenced at a later date due to health reasons.
“There are strict licensing conditions in place covering the manufacture and movement of these substances,” Judge Rafferty told the court.
“I heard uncontested evidence at trial that there are risks to the user of unlicensed steroids. I am sure that this operation was long-running, sophisticated [and] well organised. This was exceptionally large.
“This operation was capable of producing significant amounts of the drug for commercial use.”
NCA branch commander David Cunningham said: “This organised crime group was the most prolific of its kind ever uncovered, likely the biggest global players in the illicit anabolic steroid market.
“They had the ability to move tonnes of steroids into Europe where they would be sold on the black market, making tens of millions of pounds in profit.”
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