Drug chemicals 'wholesaler' David Wain is jailed

Image caption,
Wain began his chemical supply business in 2005

A man who supplied chemicals to drug gangs throughout the UK has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

David Wain, of Hayes, west London, ran his business from his flat and mother's garage, Reading Crown Court heard.

Police said the 48-year-old sold tonnes of chemicals used to cut cocaine in deals that could have netted the criminals more than £500m.

Wain was earlier convicted of assisting drug dealers and supplying the newly banned drug GBL.

He becomes the first wholesale chemical supplier to be convicted of encouraging offences under the Serious Crime Act of 2007 and the first person in the UK convicted of supplying the "party drug" GBL, which was banned in December 2009.

Wain, who was described in court as an unassuming bachelor who led a quiet life, ran a one-man chemical supply business, ostensibly concentrating on selling legitimate substances.

Major nexus

However, Judge Ian Granger, sentencing Wain said the quantities of chemicals supplied by Wain was "colossal" and "mind-boggling".

Investigators say he was a major "nexus" enabling organised criminal gangs to cut pure cocaine, weakening its strength to boost their profits.

Soca, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, had been keeping an eye on Wain's business - Sourceachem - since 2006.

Wain, a trained accountant, was warned that the chemicals he was supplying could be used to cut cocaine.

Image caption,
Wain made bulk buys of GBL from China and upped his prices when the drug was banned

But investigators found his supply activities continued and - after his arrest in September 2009 - he diversified into supplying drugs such as GBL and chloroform.

He supplied the later to one customer in plain packets, so the man's wife wouldn't become suspicious, the court heard.

Wain's trial was also told that the mother of a young man Wain was supplying with GBL, had contacted him to beg him to stop selling drugs to her son.

The plea went unanswered and the man ended up spending several weeks in a coma in St Thomas' Hospital in London.

Seizure order

Wain supplied drug gangs in Bournemouth, London, Sheffield, Liverpool, Cardiff and Glasgow, Soca believe.

He dealt in cash and kept records of customers only by initials or nicknames.

A Soca statement said: "An investigation into Wain's activities in 2006 resulted in him being warned about his involvement with drug dealers.

"He chose to ignore those warnings and continued dealing in the same way, thereby proving that he knew what he was doing.

"This case sends a strong message to facilitators that they are not beyond the reach of the law."

Soca said they will be applying to seize cash Wain made from his criminal activities.

Investigators found that Wain had banked £400,000 in a year, without being able to supply any legitimate business to account for these funds.

Wain will also be banned from supplying chemicals for five years on his release.

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