A UK man who offered buy-one-get-one-free offers on deadly drugs and posted them around the world from his flat in Wales has been jailed for the “complex operation” he was running. The Independent reports that four of Kyle Enos’ customers died from overdoses of fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid that has so far been linked to 113 deaths in the UK. Investigators could not prove the drugs that killed them had been supplied by Enos but warned of the danger posed by his product.
The report says the 25-year-old admitted importing, supplying and exporting fentanyl and was jailed for eight years at Cardiff Crown Court. Judge Eleri Rees said the deaths illustrated the danger of the drug, which is 25 times more powerful than heroin. “You were fully aware of the potency and the high risk involved,” she added. “This was a sophisticated, complex operation in that you supplied fentanyl to over 160 addresses – to the UK, Europe and the US. The profits were such that you were able to rent a luxury apartment in Cardiff city centre. You were advertising your products and sought customers reviews about them on the dark web.”
The report says Enos, of Newport in South Wales, sold fentanyl to 168 people in the UK, Europe, Canada and the US between May 2016 and May 2017. Using the psedunym “sovietbear”, he set up a page on the Alphabay and Dream marketplaces that offered same-day delivery to British customers, just three days to Europe and a week worldwide. The profile boasted of “selling pure fentanyl at the cheapest prices” and offering custom concentrations.
The report says the page offered to re-ship fentanyl packages that were seized by customs, although Enos claimed detection was “very, very rare”. Near the bottom of the advert, below a line urging customers to “enjoy the process”, was a warning. “What could give me a nice little high could knock someone on their arse for half a day,” it said. “I sell seriously strong, potent drugs. Seriously strong, but seriously great. Just be smart and be safe.”
The report says footage from a custody interview with Enos on 19 May showed him admitting running a “buy one, get one free” offer. “It’s anonymous, I measure out, I bag it up and then I put it in an envelope and sent it through the Post Office,” he added. He told officers how he was importing fentanyl “every few weeks” from illegal sellers in China and prepared packets himself, before sending them either first class or via air mail.
Enos was attempting to enlist people to work as distributors for him as he made up to £16,000 in bitcoin from his sales. A gram of fentanyl can typically sell for £50 to £60, while the same quantity of its even stronger analogue carfentanyl goes for £400. Some of the packages Enos sent in unremarkable brown padded envelopes contained 45 times the estimated lethal quantity of fentanyl – the equivalent to more than 25,000 fatal doses.
Investigators said the varying size of Enos’ shipments showed that some were sent to users directly, and others to dealers buying several kilograms at a time. His customer Jonathon Robinson, 25, was found dead at home in Northumbria, while university student Jack Barton, 23, died in Cardiff in January, the court heard. Aaron Rees, 34, from Ammanford in Carmarthenshire, Wales, was found dead last March. The fourth person, who was not named, died in Scotland.
The report says officers wore bio-hazard suits and respirators due to the danger of the drug when they searched Enos’ home, using documents to identify 92 customers in the UK and 78 overseas.
Even after his arrest, Enos contacted suppliers saying that he had been “raided” by the police but wanted to re-start his business. He also searched online for how to programme computers in prison and how to smuggle phones and drugs inside, Cardiff Crown Court heard. “No cases as serious as this have been reported involving fentanyl,” said prosecutor Nicholas Gareth Jones. “It was a sophisticated operation on a commercial scale.”
Enos, who has no previous convictions, claimed he was saving up money to go to university and now hopes to complete a maths degree while in prison.
The National Crime Agency (NCA), which led the investigation, said he was “playing Russian roulette with the lives of his customers”. Operations manager Colin Williams is quoted in the report as saying that fentanyl was an “urgent threat to the UK”. “This case sends two messages: first of all advising the public that this drug is out there and they should make family members that take drugs more aware that this is poisonous and toxic, to reduce further deaths,” he added.
Lawrence Gibbons, head of drugs threat at the NCA, said the entrance of fentanyl into the heroin supply line was being closely monitored in 27 out of 43 British police force areas. There was a significant rise in deaths linked to the drug in early 2017, he added, saying that operations against suppliers including Enos from April onwards and efforts to take down their marketplaces have had a dramatic affect.
The report says the drug has been at the centre of a recent overdose crisis in the US and Canada, sparking a warning from Public Health England over the deadly mixing of heroin with fentanyl and other synthetic opiates. It said “highly toxic” fentanyl is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine, making as little as 0.002g potentially fatal.The Independent report