TWO Pembrokeshire men who continued to deal in a “legal high” even after it had been classified as illegal have been sentenced today at Swansea Crown Court.
Kevin Firth, who once ran the Pembs PC computer shops in Haverfordwest and Pembroke, and Daniel Cobbinah had been due to stand trial before a jury charged with possessing APB, a drug incorporating benzofuran, with intent to supply, but changed their pleas to guilty at the last moment.
Robin Rouch, prosecuting, said the men began dealing when APB was considered to be a “legal high.” But in June, 2013, the Home Office placed the drug on a prohibited list making it a class B drug, “and they would have known immediately about the ban.”
They may have continued to deal the synthetic cocaine, added Mr Rouch, partly because of the investment they had made in expensive machinery to produce it.
Today’s ruling included the confiscation of a sophisticated pill press found at a company called Pier Engineering.
Mr Rouch said police searched Cobbinah’s home at Flat 5, 15 High Street, Haverfordwest, and found a black bag in a bedroom containing the ingredients necessary to make APB.
He said it was difficult to estimate the value of the drug, but it could have been as high as £3,500.
They also found another high known as Diet Coke, which was still legal, plus weighing scales.
Mr Rouch said at Firth’s home at The Green, Tenby, officers found a stainless steel funnel which could be connected with the pill making machine.
Firth, he added, had spent sometime in jail after his arrest as he was recalled to prison for previous drug related offending.
Judge Paul Thomas said he accepted that at some stage APB had been considered legal.
But he warned Firth, aged 45, and Cobbinah, 43, that when people became involved in the supply of drugs “things happen to them.”
Firth and Cobbinah were made the subject of 12 month community orders. Firth was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work for the community and Cobbinah 80 hours.
Both will also pay £60 government surcharges.