Lecturer jailed over fake sex drug plan

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The Independent Online

A university worker was jailed today for planning to flood the market with fake sex-enhancing drugs.

Chemist Chistiaan Winkel imported a machine from China and chemicals to make £1.6 million worth of fake Cialis C20 pills.



He pressed some samples using white powder to show a "potential dealer" - but trial runs to make the C20 copies were "sabotaged" by undercover police officers.



Winkel, 32, also offered to produce Ecstasy tablets before being arrested after a police sting, the Old Bailey heard.



"Undercover officers became concerned about health and safety issues. They did not know what chemicals were being used," said Richard Milne, prosecuting.



He told the Old Bailey the officers caused various things to happen to stop the procedures.



"At one point they sabotaged the operation by defusing the machine," he said.



Winkel, of Fulham, west London, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud pharmaceutical firm Lilly UK and conspiracy to manufacture Ecstasy.



He was jailed for three years and four months.



The judge, Recorder Douglas Day, QC, told him: "You are a highly-intelligent man with great talent. It is a tragedy to find you here."



Dutch national Winkel had quit his job as an organic chemistry lecturer at University College London (UCL) to set up his own chemical import business.



Soon after, in November 2009, he made contact with an undercover investigator for Lilly through a website and offered to make the pills for erectile dysfunction.



The machinery and chemicals were installed in an east London flat where, by July last year, Winkel was ready to begin manufacturing.



Mr Milne said the Cialis drugs were only available on prescription but some people were risking their lives to buy fake ones on the internet for around £1 each.



Winkel, who had £9,000 in the bank, had conspired with council "dog poo collector" Safa Ba Seidi, who was his runner.



Legitimate chemicals used in Winkel's business, along with illegal Ecstasy ingredients, were found in Ba Seidi's home at a hostel in the grounds of a mosque in Tottenham.



Ba Seidi, 36, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to supply Ecstasy and was jailed for 21 months.



Winkel's girlfriend, Yuly Sandoval Mora, 33, of Holloway, north London, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and was given an eight-month sentence suspended for a year.



Detective Inspector Doug Blackwood said after the case: "These three people were trying to flood the country with drugs that didn't work and could have caused anyone who took them serious harm."



He said of Winkel: "The millionaire lifestyle he hoped this crime would fund must now seem a very long way away."



Mick Deats, of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, said: "This is a rare case of counterfeit medicines being manufactured in the UK.



"We generally find that counterfeit medicines found in this country have originated from the Far East."



A spokesperson for UCL said: "Mr Winkel has worked for us as a teaching assistant doing a PhD."