A CONSPIRACY to smuggle drugs worth nearly £2 million into North Wales from China and Hong Kong was discovered in parcels seized by customs officers.

It sparked an investigation by North Wales Police – Operation Fasti – which unearthed a sophisticated plan to produce and supply steroids which would have netted the criminals a profit of £1.2m.

Mold Crown Court heard how drugs were sent from the Far East to addresses in Deeside, Flint and Ruthin, often using phoney business fronts.

The online mission statement for one of the criminals’ companies, Renvex labs, was to provide “safe, innovative, high quality pharmaceutical grade products that ensure excellent results”.

The reality was it was being produced in an unhygienic outbuilding in St Asaph, said prosecutor John Philpotts.

The customs seizures were made between August 2013 and March 2015.

Mr Philpotts said: “This was a very extensive criminal operation involving a great deal of money which came to light with 13 to 15 seizures of imported steroid products.”

He added: “Anyone who thinks anabolic steroids are trivial or unimportant should know the side effects are potentially damaging, particularly when the drug is taken orally, because in this form it needs to be processed by the user’s liver."

North Wales Police, with help from its Cybercrime unit, searched properties in Plas Capten, St Asaph – where an outbuilding contained a drugs factory with a pill press and other equipment – Flint, Shotton, a shop in Ruthin, to self-storage units and even a static caravan on a park in Trearddur Bay, Anglesey.

The conspiracy also had links with Yorkshire and other parts of the country.

Mr Philpott said when it became clear that 36 Church Street in Connah’s Quay had been used to take delivery of parcels police investigated how it was linked to the suspects and found the property appeared to be owned by an innocent party, Fay Sullivan.

But it had been bought by David Jenkins and Fay’s brother, Mark Sullivan, with the deeds revealing it could not be sold without the consent of the two men.

“It is clear that the house had been purchased by David Jenkins and Mark Sullivan, hidden behind Faye Sullivan, as an address for the receipt of deliveries associated with the conspiracy, in manner similar to the use of the ‘Posh Paws’ (a shop in Ruthin) and ‘Ferry Sweets’ (a shop in Queensferry) premises,” said Mr Philpotts.

Before the court are 14 defendants on conspiracy and money laundering charges:

David Jenkins, 37, of Cornist Lane, Flint; Andrew Dodd, 51, of Maes Refail, Henryd, Conwy and Macauley Dodd, 23, of Maes Refail, Henryd, all admitted four charges of conspiracy to contravene customs, produce and supply Class C drugs, anabolic steroids, and conceal criminal property.

Abbie Roberts, 25, of Cornist Lane, Flint; Helen Massey, 46, of Cornwall Road, Shotton; Samantha Fletcher, 47, of Cornist Lane, Flint and Christina Fisher, 45, of Mallard Road, Castlefield, West Yorkshire, all admitted one charge of conspiracy to supply class C drugs.

Joseph Taylor-Hannah, 28, of Huddersfield, admitted possession with intent to supply class C drugs.

Craig Anholm, 47, of Castleford and Joshua Jones, 28, of Castleford, both admitted two conspiracy charges to supply class C drugs and conceal criminal property.

Brian Craig, 63, of Ketland Close, Shotton, admitted one conspiracy charge to contravene customs.

Maureen Jenkins, 68, of Fairway, Sandycroft, admitted one charge of conspiracy to conceal criminal property.

Scott Watson, 36, of Sealand Avenue, Garden City, admitted conspiracy to contravene customs and to conceal criminal property.

Colin Sullivan, 37, of The Highway, Hawarden, admitted conspiracy to conceal criminal property in relation to money but not drugs.

Judge Huw Rees will sentence the defendants tomorrow after he has heard mitigation from all defence barristers.