A pharmacist sold painkillers to a drug dealer to flood the streets with around £250,000 worth of a deadly and highly addictive opioid drink.
Shamil Amin, 34, was working as a manager at two pharmacies – one in Horsham and another in Croydon - when he began illegally selling pharmaceuticals, predominantly codeine, through a supply chain to 26-year-old Daniel Tillyard.
Tillyard used the products to make "lean", a syrup-based opioid drink typically consisting of a cocktail of substances including codeine and promethazine.
Detectives said he dreamed of being a "big-time" drug dealer in London.
The drink is sold in 4oz and 8oz bottles, is highly addictive and could even kill unwitting users as it was made with more opioids than safely recommended, police said.
The product this concoction produced is classified as a Class A drug when containing morphine and a Class B drug when containing codeine.
In 2020, Tillyard began dealing directly with Amin to further his aim of turning his lean production into a fully-fledged business, called Zillaceuticals.
His ambition was to become the sole supplier of the product across the capital, saying in a text message: "I wanna take over the whole of London with this lean ting."
His aimed to create 5,000 bottles of the drink, with a street value of around £250,000, according to police.
Drug experts said the risk of complications from digesting lean, such as respiratory problems, organ damage and even death, were higher with Tillyard’s products, as he often replaced the base ingredient of codeine with morphine, a court heard.
Detectives found texts between Tillyard and Amin discussing their drug deals and aspirations during a separate investigation into drug dealing in Surrey.
They were both arrested last May when a search of Tillyard’s phone also found he previously supplied over 2,000 ecstasy pills and offered a "menu" of over a dozen different drugs.
During a raid at his home in Croydon, over 2kg of cannabis was also found.
At Guildford Crown Court on Tuesday, Amin was sentenced to two years and five months in prison, while Tillyard, of Bethnal Green, east London, was jailed for six years and nine months.
During earlier hearings, Amin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs.
Tillyard admitted six counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, four counts of conspiracy to supply Class B drugs and two counts of conspiracy to supply Class C drugs.
Detective Constable Philip Potter of Surrey Police said after the hearing: “This was a large-scale plot by Tillyard, who aspired to be a big-time drug dealer in London.
“The fact that he is now behind bars mean that his aspiration has not become a reality, Thanks to the hard work of officers and detectives, Tillyard’s plot to produce and supply lean, facilitated by Amin, has been stopped in its tracks.
“Drug dealing blights communities and exploits the vulnerable, which is why we work tirelessly to stop it from taking place.”