Jailed: David Ihenagwa sold sleeping pills and painkillers to drug dealers from his mother’s London Fields pharmacy

A pharmacy managing director who sold sleeping pills and painkillers with a street value of £2.2m to drug cartels from his mother’s London Fields pharmacy has been jailed.

David Ihenagwa, 40, of Edmonton, abused his position as the managing director of Norlington Chemist in Broadway Market, to buy more than 1.65 million highly-addictive Class B and Class C pills to sell on illegally.

An investigation from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) revealed Ihenagwa bought far larger quantities of codeine phosphate, Diazepam, Lorazepam and Tramadol than would normally be dispensed from a high street pharmacy.

Buyers paid in cash and organised gangs collected the prescription medication by the van load from Norlington Chemist, to ship around the country.

The drugs are highly addictive and should only be available on prescription under medical supervision.

But Ihenagwa’s actions meant the controlled medicines - which have withdrawal like insomnia, suicidal thoughts and vomiting - may have been touted on the streets and online to anyone that wanted to buy them.

According to the MHRA the street value was potentially over £2 million, based on prices taken from illegal internet sites.

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The investigation began after 13,440 codeine phosphate tablets were seized in Stoke-on-Trent in June 2016, and were traced back to the pharmacy owned by Ihenagwa’s mother Rita Gold Ihenagwa.

The MHRA discovered that Ihenagwa purchased the tablets from a licensed wholesale dealer in Surrey to operate his criminal enterprise, and that he had sold medicines at least 23 times to a criminal group.

Ihenagwa pleaded guilty on September 16 to supply of class B and class C drugs between September 2015 and April 2016.

He was sentenced on January 23 to six years in prison at Croydon Crown Court.

A Proceeds of Crime Act investigation is now underway to establish any profit he made which could result in seizure of money and property.

Mark Jackson, head of enforcement at the MHRA said: “It is a serious criminal offence to sell controlled drugs which are also prescription only medicines without a prescription.

“We work relentlessly with regulatory and law enforcement colleagues to identify and prosecute those involved.

“Those who sell medicines illegally are exploiting vulnerable people and have no regard for their health. Prescription-only medicines are potent and should only be taken under medical supervision.”