On 22 February 2013, a Portuguese national was sentenced to 44 months imprisonment for running an illicit drug mailing operation as part of an investigation by the MHRA. The operation resulted in the seizure of approximately £1.6 million worth of unlicensed, prescription-only-medicines and Class C drugs.
Mahomed Bacai, 38, of Addlestone, Surrey pleaded guilty to five offences including forgery, possession of false identity documents and conspiracy to supply: Class C drugs, prescription-only medicines and medicines not on the General Sales List.
The MHRA started its investigation in January 2011 following seizures of medicines by the UK Border Agency in Coventry. Mr Bacai’s operation involved him hiring mailboxes using false documentation and fake names, which were then used to receive packages from suppliers in India and China. The packages were then re-packed at his home address and sent on to his international customer base. MHRA Enforcement officers conducted a raid of Mr Bacai’s home address in Addlestone in June 2011 where quantities of medicines totalling £1.5 million were found stored in unsanitary conditions, including a garden shed. The seizure included vast amounts of counterfeit and unlicensed erectile dysfunction medicines, as well as powerful Class C drugs such as the opiate Tramadol, tranquiliser drug Diazepam and vials of testosterone.
Following further intelligence work an additional £125,000 worth of medicines destined for Mr Bacai’s home address were seized and Mr Bacai was arrested. Nimo Ahmed, MHRA Acting Head of Enforcement said: “We are committed to pursuing those involved in the illicit supply of medicines and taking action to ensure that public health is protected. “Prescription-only medicines and controlled substances such as Tramadol and Diazepam are potent substances. They can cause serious harm if not taken under the supervision of a doctor or other appropriate healthcare professional and obtained through a registered pharmacy. We urge people to only take prescription-only medicines after an appropriate consultation with their GP. They are best equipped to consider your medical history, the risk and benefits of drugs and any possible interactions with other medicines you’re taking.”