In March 2015, a quantity of steroids was held by customs officers at Heathrow Airport. The subsequent investigation sparked by the seizure uncovered an international operation to manufacture, import and supply anabolic steroids with a street value of £11.9m.
Whilst the smuggling ring was spearheaded by Jacob Sporon-Fiedler, aged 38, from his base in Mumbai, steroids were brought into the UK by associates Gurjaipal Dhillon, 65, and Nathan Selcon, 44.
Selcon then joined Mohammed Afzal, 34, and Alexander McGregor, 50, in the illegal manufacture of the drugs from shipping containers and small industrial units in this country.
The somewhat complex set-up had a level of sophistication. Sporon-Fiedler’s activities were carried out through his company, Alpha Pharma, whilst Dhillon’s company Chesslet Research would falsely label the steroids and provide false information to HMRC.
Selcon and Dhillon were then responsible for the completing the chain by collecting and then distributing the drugs.
McGregor, Afzal and Selcon’s activities in making the steroids saw them convicted of conspiracy to produce controlled drugs of Class C. This carries a maximum sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment, though in this case Selcon received six years and Afzal two. McGregor will be sentenced next year.
Sporon-Fiedler and Dhillon were found guilty of fraudulently evading the prohibition of a controlled drug, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years’ custody and/or an unlimited fine. Sporon-Fiedler received a sentence of five years and four months and Dhillon five years.
Selcon was also found guilty of the offence and received six years’ imprisonment, which will run at the same time as his sentence for the production offence.
What happens next?
Sentencing is not the end for these defendants. They will now be subject to confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act, which could prove to be very costly indeed. Their finances will be thoroughly scrutinised, and they will have to account for every penny of their ‘criminal lifestyle’ over the past six years.
If you are facing similar proceedings, Confiscation proceedings or have a query relating to the content of this article, please contact our Regulatory team for confidential advice.