BREAKING BUD: Cops Smash Huge Drugs Syndicate And Seize 1,000 Kilos Of ...
Breaking Bud

Two members of an organised crime gang that ran one of the biggest amphetamine factories ever discovered in the UK have been jailed.

Mirroring popular TV show Breaking Bad, the drugs lab could produce 881lbs (400 kilos) of amphetamine each month, worth £2million at wholesale and up to £10million at street level.

One member of the crew - Andrew Gurney, 51 - was known as ‘The Geek’ because of his specialist electrical installation and plumbing skills, had converted a double garage outbuilding into the drugs lab.

Ringleader John Keet, 41, invested profits from a career dealing cocaine, cannabis and amphetamines into building and managing the lab.

He paid for his right hand man, Keith Davis, 62, to take chemistry training to enable him to operate the site.

Work started on the building in March 2020 and it began producing drugs in May that year, police said.

The gang initially bought amphetamine precursor chemical benzyl methyl ketone (BMK) but quickly realised it was more profitable to make it themselves.

The haul of drugs were distributed from the factory near Redditch in Warwickshire to dealers in the West Midlands, London and Kent.

Plumes of noxious fumes billowed from the outbuilding when it was opened by fire crews, who had to wait several hours before searching it due to the hazardous chemicals inside.

National Crime Agency (NCA) officers and Warwickshire Police raided the site in Ullenhall Lane, Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire, last April 27.

Waste products from the production process, which had been flushed into the sewerage system, had also contaminated a nearby field.

Electronic weighing scales were found in Davis’ home, along with 300 kilos of BMK at a storage facility he used.

A string of documents and receipts were also found by cops in Gurney’s vehicles relating to heating equipment identified in the lab, weighing scales and chemicals needed for amphetamine production.

Officers also found PPE, including respirators and wellington boots which had chemical traces of amphetamine on them.

At Kingston Crown Court on Tuesday, Davis, of Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, and Gurney, of Quinton, Birmingham, were found guilty following a 12-day trial.

Davis was jailed for five years and three months, while Gurney was sentenced to six years and three months in prison at the same court today (Fri).

Keet, also from Chalfont St Giles, pleaded guilty to all the charges at the same court on October 29 last year. He is due to be sentenced in August.

Elliott Walker, 49, of Kidbrooke, south east London, was an associate of Keet and bought specialist equipment for the lab.

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce class B drugs - amphetamine - last September 17 and was jailed for six years on December 14.

Matt McMillan, NCA branch commander, said after the hearing today: “Keith Davis and Andrew Gurney had key roles in running one of the largest drugs laboratories ever found in the UK.

“Under the direction of John Keet, they meticulously planned this criminal enterprise – even undergoing chemistry training to run the laboratory.

“The drugs produced will have fuelled violence, fear and exploitation in communities across the UK.

“Closing down this lab is a great example of multi-agency cooperation to protect the public.”

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