Daniel Hackland, wife Jenna and his brother Matthew Hackland pleaded guilty to 7 counts between them of producing and supplying unlicensed class C drugs, unlicensed medicines and money laundering. Daniel and Matthew were given 4.5 and 3 years custodial sentence respectively. Jenna Hackland received 18 months in custody (suspended for 2 years) and 100 hours of unpaid work.
The defendants ran an online business that sold supplements to the body building community, however, many of these products included powerful drugs used to treat conditions ranging from severe acne to cancer.
In addition to importing medicines and supplements illegally, they also produced home-made drugs in a cement mixer which were then sold to unwitting and potentially desperate customers who were unaware of the poor conditions in which these drugs were made.
More than 112,090 tablets and 1,884 bottles of injectable liquids were seized from a rented office where MHRA enforcement officials found pill pressing equipment and dyes imported from China.
Suspicions arose when it was apparent that the Hacklands had unexplained wealth. Despite Daniel Hackland declaring no employment with HRMC between 2008 and 2013, watches worth £17k and cars worth more than £60k were owned by the family and approximately £49,000 was hidden in a safe in the loft.
Daniel showed no remorse when arrested by officers, simply stating ‘I knew this was going to happen eventually”.
Alastair Jeffrey, MHRA Head of Enforcement, said:
This is an example of how criminals are willing to put the health of others at risk to make money. Selling medicines outside of the regulated supply chain is a serious criminal offence and we continue to work with other regulatory and law enforcement colleagues to identify and prosecute those involved in this type of activity.
If you purchase medicines outside of the regulated supply chain you may well be buying products that have been made and stored in unsanitary conditions and which could cause significant harm.
MHRA is currently running the #FakeMeds campaign to warn people against buying potentially dangerous or useless unlicensed medicines sold by illegal online suppliers. Visit www.gov.uk/fakemeds for tips on buying medicines safely online and how to avoid unscrupulous sites.