Athletics

Irish Sprinter Leon Reid Arrested And Facing Drugs Charges

Irish Sprinter Leon Reid Arrested And Facing Drugs Charges

Leon Reid appeared at Bristol Magistrates’ Court late last month facing drug charges.

The 26-year-old - an Irish Olympic hopeful - is one of five men who face charges following a South West Regional Organised Crime Unit investigation into "the large scale supply of drugs, possession of firearms and ammunition, and money laundering".

It's said that the "men were all arrested last year as part of Operation Venetic, the UK law enforcement response to the take down of encrypted global communications service EncroChat".

According to the South West ROCU, Reid has been charged with: "Conspiracy to supply class A (cocaine), permitting premises to be used in the production of class A (crack cocaine), concealing criminal property, and acquiring criminal property."

Reid was subsequently released on bail along with co-accused Robert Dent and James Hele. Romaine Hyman was remanded in custody, while the fifth man, Christopher Barbosa, failed to appear at the hearing.  Reid, Dent, Hele and Hyman are all due to appear before Bristol Crown Court on May 12th.

Police say that a "further 18 people have been arrested in connection with the case and are currently released under investigation".

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Items including six encrypted phones, a Glock 19 handgun, a carbine conversion kit, a silencer, an extended magazine, ammunition, 8kg of cocaine, 4kg of crystal MDMA, 3,000 ecstasy tablets, a hydraulic press, and £434,000 cash have been seized during the investigation.

Reid represented Ireland in the 60m at last month's European Indoor Athletics Championship in Poland. The English-born sprinter switched allegiance from Great Britain to Ireland in 2018 and was part of that year's Irish team at the European Championships where he reached the final of the 200m.

In a statement, Athletics Ireland said that it "has been notified today that an Irish international athlete, Leon Reid has been charged with a criminal offence outside the jurisdiction of Ireland. Athletics Ireland cannot comment further until all elements of due process have been completed."

Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

PJ Browne
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