The 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, Irish Leon Reid has been charged with five other men for drugs, possession of firearms and money-laundering offences. Reid, who ran 20.55sec on the Gold Coast to become Northern Ireland’s first Commonwealth Games track medal winner in 28 years, appeared last week in Bristol magistrates’ court.
The 26-year-old, who lives in Bath, is charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine, permitting premises to be used in the production of crack cocaine, concealing criminal property, and acquiring criminal property.
In a statement the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit said the investigation was focused on “the large-scale supply of drugs, possession of firearms and ammunition, and money laundering”, adding: “A further 18 people have been arrested in connection with the case and are currently released under investigation.
“Items including six encrypted phones, a Glock 19 handgun, a carbine conversion kit, a silencer, an extended magazine, ammunition, eight kilos of cocaine, four kilos of crystal MDMA, 3,000 ecstasy tablets, a hydraulic press, and £434,000 cash have been seized during the investigation.”
The men were arrested last year as part of Operation Venetic, “the UK law-enforcement response to the takedown of encrypted global communications service EncroChat”.
Reid competed for Great Britain when he won a 200m silver medal at the European Junior Championships in 2013 but has since chosen to represent Northern Ireland and Ireland. He is hoping to represent Ireland at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
James Hele, Robert Dent, and Reid have been released on court bail. Fellow sprinter Romaine Hyman, 29, of no fixed abode, has been remanded in custody. All four men are due to appear at Bristol crown court on 12 May. A fifth man – Christopher Barbosa – failed to appear in court, with the police issuing a warrant for his arrest.