There's cutting coke with lactose powder or mannitol, and then there's completely forgetting about the cocaine altogether and just giving your customers pure washing powder. Which is what a Middlesbrough conman was doing for two months before he got caught.
Jamie Lee Taylor, 27, passed off the cleaning product as the Class A drug, which, according to Teesside Crown Court, earned him a "fair bit of money". But he found himself in the dock because, despite having never actually being caught selling illegal drugs, he was passing stuff off as real. He pleaded guilty to offering to supply cocaine to others between July and September, and "possession of an article for use in fraud" – AKA three bags of white powder – on the 5th of September.
Alex Bousfield, the defending lawyer, said: "It's an unusual case. He has not been supplying drugs to anyone. Surely the real peril in the offence of drugs is it contributes in continuing that misuse of drugs and everything else that follows from it. He knows throughout – he's the only one who knows – these are not drugs."
Prosecutor Rachel Masters said: "Essentially, the defendant is purporting to sell drugs in the way that a drug dealer would sell drugs. He's making a fair bit of money out of it as a result."
The judge is still unsure on how to proceed, and has adjourned the case, meaning Taylor will be sentenced next Monday.
Obviously, it should be considered that the washing powder itself could have done damage to the people taking it. A few years ago it was reported that some crystal meth users had turned to snorting washing powder as a substitute, and then become violently ill. Once in the body, it can cause vomiting and burning of the internal organs.
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