A gang was last night behind bars after flooding Brighton and Hove with £1million worth of party drugs.
Businessman Edward Nye ran a major operation supplying thousands of ecstasy tablets to the city’s party scene.
He, and three others, were yesterday (January 9) jailed for a total of 28 years.
Nye, 35, of Stapley Road, Hove and his gang manufactured their own brand of orange coloured ecstasy tablets- which they called Tangos - because of their unusual colour – as well as 2CB – another psychoactive class A drug.
The gang was caught after being followed by the Serious Organised Crime Agency SOCA acting on information about the gang from Brighton police.
Officers had watched as Nye ran his drugs empire for months meeting with close friend Christopher Meffen, Meffen’s wife Jacqueline, and accomplices Kieran Cormack and Sephton Long. They watched as members of the gang travelled to and from a farmhouse in Carmarthen, Wales, owned by Drew Needham where the drugs were made.
SOCA’s lead investigator, who cannot be named for operational reasons, said: “This was drug production on an industrial scale.
“Edward Nye and his associates were running a large scale business flooding Brighton with potentially dangerous drugs.
“They are now behind bars where they belong and have been denied substantial profits.
'£1million of drugs'
"This was a substantial operation. We know just from the time we were observing them that they produced in excess of £1million worth of drugs destined for the bars, pubs and clubs of Brighton.
“I have been working in law enforcement for a long time and witnessed the impact on the families and friend of those who die from taking drugs like ecstasy is not trivial.
“These people were not chemists or other professionals. They were making potentially deadly drugs.”
After his arrest, Nye – who was described as the “linchpin” of the operation was found to have more than £550,000 of drugs at a garage in Henfield his father rented for him.
When officers raided the farmhouse – which was home to Nye’s accomplice Drew Needham, 54, in Camarthenshire, they found a press used to make the pills covered in orange coloured powdered ecstasy as well as more than £60,000 worth of drugs.
They discovered industrial mixing equipment, more than 1kg of ecstasy powder, packages of ecstasy pills of various colours including orange pills, a quantity of Micro crystalline cellulose – a binding agent used to turn powdered drugs into pills - and orange food colouring.
The most important find was a plastic bag of orange ecstasy pills found in the bathroom cupboard of the farmhouse with Nye’s fingerprints on it.
Six members of the gang were convicted of conspiring to supply drugs between April 2010 and February 2011.
Nye was jailed for 12 years at Winchester Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply MDMA and conspiracy to supply 2CB.
Cormack, 41, of Foredown Road, Portslade, was jailed for seven years after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply MDMA following a trial which ended in November 2012.
Long, 40, who lived with Cormack, was jailed for five years after admitting conspiring to supply Ecstasy and 2CB pills Jacqueline Meffen, 45, of Stonery Close, Hove, pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply Ecstasy and 2CB pills and was jailed for four years yesterday.
Christopher Meffen, also 45, and of Stonery Close Hove, who was found guilty of conspiring to supply Ecstasy and 2CB after a trial in November and Needham, 54, of Maes y Haidd, a farmhouse in Llanfyndd, Carmarthen, Wales, who pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply ecstasy pills are both due to be sentenced on February 13.
Jailing Nye yesterday the judge at Winchester Crown Court said he was convinced the gang had been responsible for supplying more than £1million worth of drugs to the city.
EDWARD NYE, ”the linchpin” of the operation of supplying ecstasy and 2CB. To the outside world he posed as the director and part owner or a respectable food business.
CHRISTOPHER MEFFEN, close friend of Nye. He operates the machine to produce the pills. He transported equipment and pills.
JACQUELINE MEFFEN, wife of Christopher. She bought the orange food dye to give the “Tango” pills their distinctive colour.
KIERAN CORMACK worked for Nye. He helped Meffen fix the pill press at the Welsh farmhouse. Previously jailed for nine years for importing 1kg of cocaine into Spain from Peru. He had been released just weeks before he was arrested.
DREW NEEDHAM originally from Brighton, moved to Wales several years ago and owned the farm where the pills were produced.
A pill press, equipment and drugs were found at his premises.
TANGOS – Nye’s gang bought large quantities of orange food colouring online which they added to their ecstasy tablets to give them a bright orange colour, branding them Tangos. The distinctive colour of their pills helped catch them.
2CB – hallucinogenic synthetic class A drug which produces effects somewhere between ecstasy and LSD.
See the latest news headlines from The Argus:
- Man we met at gay nightclub died on our sofa
- Police called as girls, 12, get thrown out of cinema
- UPDATE: Severe delays on all Brighton and Hove bus services
- New ticket scheme confuses commuters at Brighton station
- Man who died in Newhaven lorry crash on Friday named