Bodybuilder jailed for three years for selling steroids on Instagram
A bodybuilder has been jailed for three years after selling anabolic steroids using his Instagram account which had 50,000 followers.
Daniel Lawless, aged 28, became involved in the drugs conspiracy when he was approached by a firm called King’s North to become a sales rep for the steroids.
He kept in contact with the company, also known as TNP, through the social networking site Wickr, which had end-to-end encrypted messages.© PA Manchester Crown Court
Throughout a 10-month period, Lawless made over £166,000, for which he kept 25% profits, meaning he received £40,000.
After a search at his parents address, officers found designer t-shirts still in their packaging, perfume in and out of boxes as well as other designer clothing.
Then after a search at his address, in his bedroom police found blister packs of a ‘haul of human growth hormones’ including tablets and vials of drugs similar to steroids.
Lawless pleaded guilty earlier this year to possession of criminal property, being concerned in the supply of class C drugs and possession of class C drugs.
He was sentenced to 36 months imprisonment.
Following a trial of issue earlier this week, Judge Michael Leeming told the court of the findings of fact.
He said: “Between January 2017 and November 2017, the defendant was concerned in the supply of class C drugs, namely anabolic steroids to fans of bodybuilding, 50,000 people were following him on Instagram, where steroids were openly discussed.
“In November 2017 the police executed a search warrant at the defendants home address and his parents address.
“He was not at home.
“In his parents’ bedroom, the police found expensive items of clothing including new mens shoes, designer t-shirts still in their packaging and boxes of designer perfume.
“In the defendant’s bedroom they found blister packs of tablets, and a haul of human growth hormones, substances of which are similar to steroids.
“There were also 46 diazepam tablets, for which he did not have a prescription for.
“All the drugs found could be used to build up muscle and enhance muscular and sporting performance.
“It is not unlawful to possess anabolic steroids, but it is an offence to supply them or to be concerned in the supply of them.”
It was said that when Lawless returned home, he was arrested and gave no reply to his caution.
They found his phone was reset to ‘factory settings’, but the ‘Notes’ app was recovered and included a note titled ‘Order’ and contained names and addresses of customers, including their shipping details, the court was told.
These included addresses from all over the UK, Europe and North America.
It was said that between January and November 2017 Lawless made an average of £4,000 a week.
Judge Leeming added: “The defendant accepts playing his part in supplying class C controlled drugs to others and acting as the go-between with TNP/King’s North.
“All the communications between him and TNP were by Wickr, and he directed his Instagram followers to the website in return for free drugs.
“He was given a cut of the profit of 25%.
“TNP created an email for the defendant and asked for names from the sales, and gave him the small cut of 25% for him to pass on the names to TNP.”
Addressing the court, prosecutor Vanessa Thompson said: “He played a significant role through social media and encrypted communications and a significant amount of money was transferred through the defendant’s account.
“The defendant had close links to the original source and had regular contact with Kings North.
“He made around £40,000 in a 10 month period.
“These were multiple street deals – it’s impossible to know the total weight of the drugs.”
Lawless was said to have no previous convictions bar one caution for when he was a youth.
In mitigation, his defence lawyer Peter Warne said: “This was on a commercial scale.
“He wasn’t using his business as a cover – TNP was.
“There was no abuse of position.
“In his character references they say he is a thoroughly decent man and he has a willingness to help others all the time.
“If he is incarcerated he will lose his job as a sales executive.
“He has expressed intense regret.
“His parents say he has a good relationship with his ill grandfather.”
Sentencing him Judge Leeming said: “I find you knew the scale of the operation to supply the class C drugs and the quantity of the sums generated from the sale of the drugs.
“You were not pressured or intimidated.
“You played a very significant part and leading role in what took place.
“You were the essential conduit – the means of contact and communication.”
Lawless, of Princes Road, was sentenced to a total of 36 months imprisonment.
A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing has been set for March 19 2021.
LINK TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/newsmanchester/bodybuilder-jailed-for-three-years-for-selling-steroids-on-instagram/ar-BB19yqjB