James Beeby, 51, of Hammer Lane, Shoreham, was sentenced at Chichester Crown Court yesterday, after having been convicted in November following an eight-day trial, of being concerned in the supply of cocaine, and money laundering, a police spokesperson said.
The force spokesperson added Beeby was also given a two-year sentence for money laundering to run concurrently with his first sentence and pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a weapon, after police recovered a stun gun and a pepper spray during the investigation.
Police said this sentencing followed an investigation by the West Sussex Community Investigation Team into the supply of cutting agents including benzocaine, boric acid and phenacetin to customers in the UK and abroad.
Police went on to say that some 320 kilos of the cutting agent were recovered during the police investigation from premises linked to Beeby, and financial evidence acquired by expert police investigators showed how over £150,000 had passed through his bank account during this time.
Investigators also found that more than 1370 kilos of cutting agent had passed through his hands, with a total estimated resale value of £1.3million.
This amount of cutting agent had the potential, when cut with cocaine, to produce drugs with a value of up to £20million at street level.
Beeby was arrested in May, 2019, and upon his arrest, he attempted to portray a legitimate business selling these chemicals for various uses, despite his websites offering assurances of discretion and the sheer quantities making any legitimate use extremely unlikely, police added.
It is said by police that Beeby supplied cutting agent to clients in the UK, the US and Canada.
Police said that during the trial, evidence was heard from a drugs expert witness about phone messages recovered from his phone and evidence that he had purchased the cutting agents, showing his knowledge of their intended use in the supply of cocaine.
Detective Inspector Alan Pack of the West Sussex Community Investigation Team said: “This investigation and outcome demonstrates our commitment to disrupt all parts of drug supply which we know can blight our communities everywhere.”
Action against Beeby continues, with a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act, for potential seizure of assets identified by investigators, at the same court on May 24, police said.