Operation Juniper

Operation into cutting agents used in drugs

Two men have been sentenced to a total of 30 years on Friday (20/1) following an investigation by the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) into cutting agents used in drugs.

David Marshall, aged 31, of Willoughby Lane, Bromley and Djibriel Ahmed, aged 33, of Goodman Park, Slough, were found guilty following a five week trial at Hove Crown Court on 19 December.

Marshall was convicted of one count of conspiracy to supply class A drugs, cocaine, and one count of money laundering and was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment. Ahmed was convicted of one count of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs, cocaine, and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.

SEROCU launched an operation into the importation of cutting agents from China into the UK from January 2014 to April 2015. The investigation uncovered that cutting agents Benzocaine, Phenaticin, Boric Acid and Manitol were imported by Marshall for the sole use of the cocaine market within the South East region.

During the trial Marshall admitted to importing 2.4 tonnes.

Investigating officer Det Sgt Steve Tattersall, of SEROCU, who led the warrants, said: “We continue to work with our colleagues across the region in order to crackdown on the supply of drugs and items which are used in the production of drugs.

“When we conducted warrants in April last year, we seized financial documentation, computers, mobile devices, a metal press machine with cocaine traces on it and a large quantity of Boric Acid believed to be used as a cutting agent for Class A drugs. Although it is not illegal to possess this drug, it is an offence under the Serious Crime Act 2007 to supply these drugs without a legitimate purpose.

“It has been decreed by this act that supplying these drugs is the same as supplying class A drugs. Often items such as Benzocaine, Phenaticin and Boric Acid are used as cutting agents in class A drugs such as cocaine.

“Marshall and Ahmed did not have the legitimate purpose and this was being used as a cutting agent to be mixed with cocaine, which would result in an increase in money for them.

“If the amount of Benzocaine imported was mixed with cocaine the wholesale value could have been up to £47 million with a street value in the hundreds of millions.

Detective Chief Inspector Alasdair Henry, head of investigations at SEROCU, said: “These convictions and lengthy custodial sentences have only been achieved through an extensive and thorough investigation by officers from SEROCU. Credit must also go to our partners in the Metropolitan Police Service and to staff from forces across the south east region who provided invaluable support throughout.

“These are of course significant amounts of drugs and we will continue to target those who supply drugs to local communities.”



David Marshall

David Marshall

20 years

Djibriel Ahmed

Djibriel Ahmed

10 years