29 May 2024 07:01 Met officers unmask online drug ring operating through social media in East London An online drug supply gang have been sentenced following a complex investigation by detectives from Operation Orochi.

A Met Investigation has led to the arrest of drug dealers supplying Class A, B and C drugs using social media.

In a significant operation led by the Met, officers from East London successfully dismantled a drug dealing ring that was using online messaging services for illicit activities.

The investigation fell under Operation Orochi, a specialist crime team within the Met dedicated to combating county lines drug supply.

During the investigation which spanned from August 2022 to May 2023, officers seized a total of 88 items, including a substantial quantity of controlled drugs sold from various platforms such as ‘World Pharmacy, ‘Baked Bros’, ‘Baked Store’ and ‘Caliukvapes’.

The seized items also included cutting agents used to bulk out the drugs, scales, empty bottles, post office labels, drug ledgers and multiple mobile phones. The total value of the drugs seized by the officers is estimated to be in the region of £153,743.

Our plan for A New Met for London demonstrates the Met’s dedication to addressing drug related crimes in London. Through the implementation of innovative strategies and collaborative partnerships with local communities, we are actively striving to create a safer environment for all residents in the capital.

Detective Inspector Dave Mannell, leading the investigation, said: “The sentences handed down are the result of a detailed investigation into the supply of controlled drugs with a national customer base.

“We know about the link between drugs and violence, and that drives us to crack down on offenders and place them before the courts.

“The evidence gathered by my officers, during what has been a complex and extensive investigation, has ensured that a significant amount of drugs will now not be sold on the streets of London.”

As part of the wider effort in East London, Neighbourhood Policing Superintendent Simon Hutchinson said: “Havering Officers have forged strong ties with the Operation Orochi specialist crime team who are committed to combating high harm offenders engaged in county lines drug distribution.

“Over the past year this collaboration has had significant results for our communities including stronger partnerships with local shop security staff and the local authority to identify, disrupt and arrest offenders. We have also established Night Time Economy meetings to ensure a joined-up approach.

“I am exceptionally proud of the work that my teams are doing and the support our partners and the community have provided which have been critical in their success.”

Traditionally associated with street transactions, drug dealing has evolved with the rise of social media platforms like Telegram and the use of channels such as ‘Baked Bros’, ‘Baked Store’ and ‘Caliukvapes’ and ‘World Pharmacy, to facilitate the sale of drugs.

Customers subscribed to these channels and could order through Telegram and WhatsApp. The drugs would then be discreetly packaged and shipped via regular mail services.

An investigation into the Baked Bros store channel, which had 3,300 subscribers, revealed operational strategies, an advertisement for drugs, and a snapchat account offering various substances for sale, including cocaine, cannabis, LSD, ecstasy, magic mushroom pills, codeine, amphetamine and oxycontin. Additionally, the channel also featured a drug menu showcasing a variety of illegal substances.

In an attempt to evade police interest, Karmolinski created a string of other groups, such as ‘Baked Store ‘, ’Caliukvapes‘ and ’World Pharmacy’, directing customers to each one in turn.

Karmolinski managed day to day activities, overseeing social media accounts and associated mobile phones, employing Budzinski to handle customer orders, while his fiancée Bueser actively participated in packaging, logo design, and even passing on drug orders from her friends to Karmolinksi. Moreover, Bueser allowed her bank accounts to receive money from the drug operation, resulting in her being charged with money laundering.

Budzinski was caught by officers on CCTV at Collier Row post office sending numerous parcels. It was noted that Karmolinski frequently visited Budzinski at his home address in Dennington Road, E6, to collect large bags of parcels which he would then send via various post offices including those at Pier Parade, Prince Regent Lane and East Ham High Street.

During the investigation officers also analysed various posts on the channels to track the movements of the suspects. The analysis revealed that Karmolinski and Bueser made trips between 12-16 September 2022 to France, and the second to trip to Poland from 31 January and returning on 14 February.

Warrants were executed in east London on 22 May 2023 at three locations, including Dennington Road, E6, Siviter Way, Dagenham, and Hainault Road, E11.

On Friday, 24 May at Snaresbrook Crown Court the defendants were sentenced as follows:

Maciej Budzinski, 26 (17.05.98) of Dennington Road, E6 was sentenced to ten years and eight months imprisonment.

Symon Karmolinski, 25 (25.09.98) of Siviter Way, RM10 were both sentenced to five years and ten months imprisonment.

Amanda Bueser, 25 (15.12.98) of Siviter Way, Dagenham, was also sentenced 15 months imprisonment [suspended] and to complete 250 hours of unpaid work.