Man jailed for drugs production operation of cannabis laced boiled sweets

Ryan Dobson aged 54 of Church Lane, Dunmow, was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court to nine years imprisonment. Picture...

Ryan Dobson aged 54 of Church Lane, Dunmow, was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court to nine years imprisonment. Picture: MET POLICE - Credit: Met Police

A man has been jailed for nine years after he was found in possession of the means to make almost £4m worth of cannabis laced boiled sweets, which he claimed he only sold to cancer patients to ease their pain.

The search of a Dunmow property found a large drugs production operation. Picture: MET POLICE

The search of a Dunmow property found a large drugs production operation. Picture: MET POLICE - Credit: Met Police

Ryan Dobson, 54, of Church Lane, Dunmow, was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Thursday, December 10.

He had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing at the same court to three counts of supplying a Class B drug (cannabis confectionary, cannabis vapour and cannabis balm), possession with intent to supply a Class B drug (cannabis), producing a Class B drug (cannabis), importation of a Class B drug (cannabis), possession of a prohibited weapon (disguised firearm), possession of a weapon for the discharge of an electrical current to stun and incapacitate, and possession of a Class A drug (cocaine).

The court heard that on November 4 2019 detectives from the Met Police’s Specialist Crime Command searched Dobson’s home and discovered a large and sophisticated drugs production operation, predominantly in the kitchen and garage.

Officers found a large quantity of cannabis and equipment to enable Dobson to make cannabis confectionery in the form of professionally packaged cubed boiled sweets, and high strength skunk cannabis stalks in professionally packaged and labelled vacuum-sealed plastic wallet type packaging.

The search of a Dunmow property found a large drugs production operation. Picture: MET POLICE

The search of a Dunmow property found a large drugs production operation. Picture: MET POLICE - Credit: Met Police


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Detectives found 12 rubber sweet cube sized moulds, some covered in cannabis oil, which enabled Dobson to quickly produce 900 cannabis sweets at a time.

The two differing types of cannabis and their packaging were found in both an empty state ready for filling and as a ‘finished ready for sale product’ containing either cannabis confectionery or skunk cannabis.

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The prosecution barrister John Clifford told the court that, based on the weight and representative value of the cannabis sweets, together with more than 20,100 empty tins contained in the 28 large boxes seized in his garage, there was the potential for 745,920 grams with a street value of £3,729,600.

During the search of Dobson’s home address, detectives also found a small quantity of cocaine, two stun guns - one disguised as a torch - and two encrypted mobile phones.

The search of a Dunmow property found a large drugs production operation. Picture: MET POLICE

The search of a Dunmow property found a large drugs production operation. Picture: MET POLICE - Credit: Met Police

The court heard the stun guns had no legitimate purpose, were in working order and were undoubtedly to be used in connection with the Dobson’s illegal prohibited commercial business in cannabis production.

A telecommunications expert confirmed both mobile phones were running EncroChat, an encrypted software.

The court heard that anyone in possession of one of these devices would most certainly be in a management or operational function within an organised criminal network and would have clear knowledge of the scale of the operation.

Dobson admitted to the charges brought against him, but he argued that the tins for the sweets were not for a commercial production line or for financial gain and that he only sold cannabis to cancer sufferers.

The search of a Dunmow property found a large drugs production operation. Picture: MET POLICE

The search of a Dunmow property found a large drugs production operation. Picture: MET POLICE - Credit: Met Police

However, the judge in a Newton Hearing prior to Dobson’s sentencing rejected this proposition and concluded that Dobson played a ‘leading role’ in the commercial supply of cannabis in various forms.

Detective Inspector Niall McSheffrey, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “Dobson had established a lucrative drugs factory, which could have caused significant harm to children. He converted boiled sweets into cannabis laced sweets and an adult or young person would not have known the difference.

“Dobson claimed to be selling the cannabis for medicinal purposes to help ease the pain of cancer patients. However, he has no medical training and the cannabis seized was illegal. He was purely selling the cannabis products for financial gain.

“This conviction and the seizure of these illegal products represents the Met’s commitment to tackle all safeguarding issues and bring those involved in the manufacture and supply of drugs to justice.”

The search of a Dunmow property found a large drugs production operation. Picture: MET POLICE

The search of a Dunmow property found a large drugs production operation. Picture: MET POLICE - Credit: Met Police

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