James Beeby, 51, of Hammy Lane, Shoreham, was convicted at Chichester Crown Court on Wednesday November 17 of being concerned in the supply of cocaine and money laundering, Sussex Police said.
Police said that Beeby also plead guilty to two counts of possession of a weapon after officers recovered a stun gun and a pepper spray during their investigation.
Police went on to say that Beeby’s conviction follows 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.
Between August 2017 and December 2018, border force officers had intercepted a total of eight packages which had been sent from China to two Sussex addresses connected to Beeby, a spokesperson from the force said.
Around 320 kilos of cutting agent were said to be recovered during the police investigation from premises linked to Beeby, police said, and financial evidence gained by police investigators showed how over £150,000 had passed through Beeby’s bank account during this time.
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.
A spokesperson for the force said: “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.
“This amount of cutting agent had the potential, when cut with cocaine, to produce drugs with a value of between £20 million and £40 million pounds at street level.”
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.
“Beeby is currently on court bail awaiting sentence in the first week of January 2022, with a hearing for potential seizure of assets to be assessed by the court under the Proceeds of Crime Act hearing to follow at a later date.”