On August 29, a 25-year-old Newport man pleaded guilty to the distribution of fentanyl and two related charges. Kyle Enos, the now-guilty defendant, appeared in Cardiff Crown Court to enter his guilty plea in a case the National Crime Agency considered much bigger than Enos himself. The case, according to the NCA, has an “international aspect.”
During Enos’s Cardiff Crown Court appearance, the NCA explained that the 25-year-old suspect had used multiple “identities” to buy “significant amounts of fentanyl.” In May, Gwent police arrested the man for distribution of Class A drugs, some of which the NCA believed had contributed to a spike in the overdose rate in the region. One month before his arrest, police in Leeds arrested three men in association with fentanyl and carfentanil distribution. They were charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
Ian Cruxton, deputy director of the NCA, said that “the threat of synthetic opioids is not new. However, since December 2016, we have seen a number of drug-related deaths linked to fentanyl and carfentanil.” He added, “the NCA has been working with partners, both in the UK and overseas, to take action against those drug dealers who are playing Russian roulette with the lives of their customers by mixing synthetic opioids with heroin and other class A drugs.”
And the NCA accused Enos of being one of “one of those drug dealers.” He admitted that he had ordered, routinely, fentanyl from the darknet. He said that it came from a supplier in China. According to Prosecutor Susan Ferrier, “[fentanyl] is not a widely known drug of class A. It is significantly more potent than heroin. “It was being dealt over the dark web both in the UK and overseas – he was shipping it in.” And to the scale of the investigation: “Every police force in the country is in involved in this inquiry.”
A spokeswoman for the NCA told Cardiff Crown Court that Enos had used anonymous internet identities to buy and sell the drug. During the search of his home in May, police found “items consistent with the preparation and packaging of drugs.” She added that several packages contained “a white powder” that they believed was fentanyl. During the police interrogation, Enos told officers that he purchased fentanyl from China and mixed it with an adulterant. He then listed the drug on darknet markets and shipped it to customers across the world.
As of the court date appearance on August 29, the NCA and partner police forces had identified 92 customers in the United Kingdom and 76 customers located internationally. These police forces are investigating fentanyl-connected overdoses in an attempt to connect Enos to any deaths.
Judge Jeremy Jenkins asked the NCA spokeswoman if, within a few weeks, Enos would be facing more charges due to overdoses. She responded, “I cannot say. We need to assess whether this indictment is sufficient.” As late as December last year, the fentanyl overdoses in the UK reached warning levels. Her statement reflected this. Ferrier added, “It is known that a number of deaths have been reported linked to the use of fentanyl, so this is not something that the prosecution could turn around within a number of weeks.”
Enos will stay in police custody until his December 18 hearing.