‘Tango’ gang flooded Brighton and Hove pubs and clubs with designer drugs

The Argus: Drugs recovered from the garage in Henfield Drugs recovered from the garage in Henfield

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.

Pill press

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.

Sentences

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.

THE GANG

The Argus: Edward Nye

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.

The Argus: Christopher Meffen

CHRISTOPHER MEFFEN, close friend of Nye. He operates the machine to produce the pills. He transported equipment and pills.

The Argus: Jacqueline Meffen

JACQUELINE MEFFEN, wife of Christopher. She bought the orange food dye to give the “Tango” pills their distinctive colour.

The Argus: Kieran Cormack

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.

The Argus: Drew Needham

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.

THE DRUGS

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.

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Comments (13)

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2:36pm Thu 10 Jan 13

Skidrow says...

So did they find no cash or that assets had been acquired from this operation? If they did, what happened to it/them?
So did they find no cash or that assets had been acquired from this operation? If they did, what happened to it/them? Skidrow

3:22pm Thu 10 Jan 13

Freeloaders says...

Skidrow wrote:
So did they find no cash or that assets had been acquired from this operation? If they did, what happened to it/them?
Very good point my friend.Also what does this case underline to us all?Its clear local gangs still only have run of the party drugs like this.But like all the murder trials in the city show us the Liverpool gangs still have control of the smack & crack side of it in the city.As thats where most of the big money is because of the large market for it still in the city.Very odd we never here about these gangs being taken out.It took two years to convict this little lot.
[quote][p][bold]Skidrow[/bold] wrote: So did they find no cash or that assets had been acquired from this operation? If they did, what happened to it/them?[/p][/quote]Very good point my friend.Also what does this case underline to us all?Its clear local gangs still only have run of the party drugs like this.But like all the murder trials in the city show us the Liverpool gangs still have control of the smack & crack side of it in the city.As thats where most of the big money is because of the large market for it still in the city.Very odd we never here about these gangs being taken out.It took two years to convict this little lot. Freeloaders

3:24pm Thu 10 Jan 13

Tammy Flugh says...

So does this mean that Brighton and Hove is out of the running for the 2013 Drugs Death Capital Award?
So does this mean that Brighton and Hove is out of the running for the 2013 Drugs Death Capital Award? Tammy Flugh

3:27pm Thu 10 Jan 13

Crystal Ball says...

Tammy Flugh wrote:
So does this mean that Brighton and Hove is out of the running for the 2013 Drugs Death Capital Award?
Yes but it's racing up the charts for the "Pointless Road Schemes at the Expense of The Tax Paying Residents" title.
[quote][p][bold]Tammy Flugh[/bold] wrote: So does this mean that Brighton and Hove is out of the running for the 2013 Drugs Death Capital Award?[/p][/quote]Yes but it's racing up the charts for the "Pointless Road Schemes at the Expense of The Tax Paying Residents" title. Crystal Ball

4:54pm Thu 10 Jan 13

julesgemini says...

Busting these gangs will not stop people taking pills. It will probably mean a new gangs will start selling them. If mdma was legalised it could be controlled and made safer. Far more people die from alcohol abuse than taking ecstasy. Brighton has always had a drugs thing going on. I can't see it ever changing as it seems to be part of the club culture. I think regulating it would be far more sensible and would stop the manufacturing of dangerous pills!
Busting these gangs will not stop people taking pills. It will probably mean a new gangs will start selling them. If mdma was legalised it could be controlled and made safer. Far more people die from alcohol abuse than taking ecstasy. Brighton has always had a drugs thing going on. I can't see it ever changing as it seems to be part of the club culture. I think regulating it would be far more sensible and would stop the manufacturing of dangerous pills! julesgemini

5:09pm Thu 10 Jan 13

funkyyoyo says...

Crystal Ball wrote:
Tammy Flugh wrote: So does this mean that Brighton and Hove is out of the running for the 2013 Drugs Death Capital Award?
Yes but it's racing up the charts for the "Pointless Road Schemes at the Expense of The Tax Paying Residents" title.
me thinks the council wins the award for the most illegally unenforcable parking and resident bays in the town of brighton and hove!!!
[quote][p][bold]Crystal Ball[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Tammy Flugh[/bold] wrote: So does this mean that Brighton and Hove is out of the running for the 2013 Drugs Death Capital Award?[/p][/quote]Yes but it's racing up the charts for the "Pointless Road Schemes at the Expense of The Tax Paying Residents" title.[/p][/quote]me thinks the council wins the award for the most illegally unenforcable parking and resident bays in the town of brighton and hove!!! funkyyoyo

5:21pm Thu 10 Jan 13

jesss2012 says...

Skidrow wrote:
So did they find no cash or that assets had been acquired from this operation? If they did, what happened to it/them?
I often wonder this too. It seems the police do not record the weight/quantity of drugs seized nor record the same of the drugs "destroyed". Please correct me if I am wrong on this :)
[quote][p][bold]Skidrow[/bold] wrote: So did they find no cash or that assets had been acquired from this operation? If they did, what happened to it/them?[/p][/quote]I often wonder this too. It seems the police do not record the weight/quantity of drugs seized nor record the same of the drugs "destroyed". Please correct me if I am wrong on this :) jesss2012

6:59pm Thu 10 Jan 13

Thetruth666 says...

When will those in power realise they have lost the war on drugs?All they are doing is giving people criminal records.People will still take drugs.This article mentions that these people are not pharmacists.Surely if a very large percentage of people are going to consume these drugs it would be better if they were made safely in a controlled environment.It would stop people taking contaminated pills,make it easier to take a safe amount,take the money away from criminals and stop clubbers getting criminal records.It would also free up Police time.I know it would be ideal if people didn't consume these substances but that's never going to happen.The government have years of the war on drugs failing.Why continue with a policy that is so obviously not fit for purpose?Votes over lives?
When will those in power realise they have lost the war on drugs?All they are doing is giving people criminal records.People will still take drugs.This article mentions that these people are not pharmacists.Surely if a very large percentage of people are going to consume these drugs it would be better if they were made safely in a controlled environment.It would stop people taking contaminated pills,make it easier to take a safe amount,take the money away from criminals and stop clubbers getting criminal records.It would also free up Police time.I know it would be ideal if people didn't consume these substances but that's never going to happen.The government have years of the war on drugs failing.Why continue with a policy that is so obviously not fit for purpose?Votes over lives? Thetruth666

7:38pm Thu 10 Jan 13

NickBrt says...

Dear Caroline Lucas how did you come up with the pseudoname Thetruth666?!
Dear Caroline Lucas how did you come up with the pseudoname Thetruth666?! NickBrt

8:47pm Thu 10 Jan 13

wewe83 says...

Hahahaha you lot have been right tangoed pmsl
Hahahaha you lot have been right tangoed pmsl wewe83

8:59am Fri 11 Jan 13

Mark_Hove says...

I am sure by putting this gang in prison that will remove all the drugs from the Brighton clubs and house parties and our children will now be safe from harm. Money well spent!
When will the kids ever learn. Drugs are bad! Stop getting high and having a good time. Become an alcoholic instead, that's much better for you.
I am sure by putting this gang in prison that will remove all the drugs from the Brighton clubs and house parties and our children will now be safe from harm. Money well spent! When will the kids ever learn. Drugs are bad! Stop getting high and having a good time. Become an alcoholic instead, that's much better for you. Mark_Hove

10:21am Fri 11 Jan 13

MarkLachlan says...

A complete waste of police time. It's a disgrace that ecstasy - a drug less harmful than paracetamol, aspirin, alcohol and tobacco, is illegal.
I'd prefer to see booze banned and ecstasy made legal - no one fights in the street on MDMA. I don't take any drugs, nor drink but this is a massive infringement of civil liberty. It's up to you what you put in your body.
The drug should be commercially produced and marketed to the same safety standards as any pharmaceutical product and taxed, rather than handing the profits over wholesale to criminal gangs.
A complete waste of police time. It's a disgrace that ecstasy - a drug less harmful than paracetamol, aspirin, alcohol and tobacco, is illegal. I'd prefer to see booze banned and ecstasy made legal - no one fights in the street on MDMA. I don't take any drugs, nor drink but this is a massive infringement of civil liberty. It's up to you what you put in your body. The drug should be commercially produced and marketed to the same safety standards as any pharmaceutical product and taxed, rather than handing the profits over wholesale to criminal gangs. MarkLachlan

4:30pm Fri 11 Jan 13

Thetruthhurts101 says...

I found the stash, and believe me it was a very good 4 days, I can't say the come down was though
I found the stash, and believe me it was a very good 4 days, I can't say the come down was though Thetruthhurts101

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