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Importation & Exportation of Drug Precursor Chemicals

The importation and exportation of drug precursor chemicals is strictly controlled to prevent international drug trafficking. Trading in drug precursor chemicals without the correct legal import or export authorisation can be a criminal offence.

At Conspiracy Solicitor, we are a dedicated team of regulatory and criminal defence solicitors. We have a broad range of experience representing clients in drug offence cases, including importation and exportation of controlled drugs.

With a specialist team of police station representatives and court advocates on hand, we are able to represent you at every stage of the criminal justice system.

We are members of the Law Society Criminal Litigation Accreditation for our independently recognised expertise in this area. With us on your side, you have the best possible chance of reducing the impact of criminal or regulatory action, including:

  • Getting the investigation dropped;
  • Achieving a not-guilty verdict at court; or
  • Achieving a lower sentence than you were originally facing.

Contact our expert drug offence solicitors for advice about importation and exportation of drug precursor chemicals by using our simple contact form to request a call back or contacting us on one of the following numbers:

  • Call 0333 009 5968 – for standard enquiries during office hours
  • WhatsApp 07535 215140 – for 24/7 emergency support including police station representation
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How our solicitors can help with importation and exportation of drug precursor chemical investigations and prosecutions

If you or someone you know has been arrested or charged in connection with the importation or exportation of drug precursor chemicals, our regulatory law and criminal defence solicitors are here to help.

We know that facing investigation for drug offences can be frightening and stressful, particularly if you thought you were following the law on drug precursors. Many people and businesses have legitimate reasons to trade in precursor chemicals, and you may be in breach by accident.

It is also common for drug precursors to be diverted out of the legitimate market by people to make illegal drugs, such as the Class A drugs of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines. When this happens, it is called drug precursor diversion.

We represent both businesses who have fallen foul of their regulatory obligations and people accused of criminal drug precursor diversion.

Whatever the reasons you are facing legal action for, having a solicitor by your side means that you do not have to go through the experience alone. Our role is to provide support and guidance to help you resolve the situation as positively as possible. Our service includes:

  • Attending the police station or place of detention at short notice to provide advice during interviews and make representations to the investigating officers on your behalf.
  • Representing you during criminal and regulatory investigations.
  • Representing you during court proceedings, including at the Magistrates Court or Crown Court.

If you have previously spoken to a solicitor about your case but you are not happy with the advice or service you received, we are happy to take over your legal representation wherever possible.

Take a look at our guide to transferring your case to Conspiracy Solicitors for more information.

Common questions about importation and exportation of drug precursor chemicals

What are drug precursor chemicals?

Drug precursors are chemicals that can be used to manufacture and produce a wide range of products, such as plastics, perfumes and medicines.

Drug precursor chemicals are commonly traded around the world by all kinds of businesses who use these chemicals to create their products.

Why are drug precursor chemicals regulated?

As well as all the legitimate uses for drug precursors, some chemicals can also be used to produce illegal narcotics and psychotropic substances.

For example, acetic anhydride is used to create all sorts of plastics, textiles, perfumes and other products. It can also be used in the production of heroin, an illegal Class A drug.

Because of all the legitimate uses, drug precursor chemicals are not illegal. Instead, importation, exportation, possession and use of drug precursor chemicals is strictly controlled and regulated both in international and domestic law.

What is the law on importing and exporting drug precursor chemicals?

The basis for the law of drug precursor chemicals is an international law called the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances 1988 (the Vienna Convention).

The Vienna Convention requires countries to control and monitor the trade of drug precursor chemicals to prevent drug trafficking.

In the UK, the Vienna Convention is incorporated into several different laws and regulations. There are four categories of drug precursors:

  • Category 1 – covers the ‘main’ drug precursors and most sensitive substances.
  • Category 2 (sub-categories 2a and 2b) – covers some precursors and less sensitive substances.
  • Category 3 – covers bulk chemicals which have various uses within manufacturing processes.
  • Category 4 – covers medicinal products of various category 1 substances.

If you import and export drug precursor chemicals in and out of the country (including the EU and, in some cases, Northern Ireland), you will likely need an import-export licence.

If you are importing category 1 drug precursor chemicals, you need what is called individual consignment authorisation. For all other categories of chemicals, you do not need import authorisation.

If you are exporting any category of drug precursor chemical, the rules vary depending on the country you are exporting to. For example, to export category 1 drug precursor chemicals to any country including to the EU and Northern Ireland, you need individual consignment authorisation and pre-export notification. If you are exporting category 2 drug precursor chemicals, you need individual consignment authorisation and may need pre-export notification depending on the country.

The Home Office precursor chemical export and import authorisation wallchart shows when you do and do not need authorisation.

Before you can get an import-export licence, you also need to get a domestic licence for the precursor chemical you want to import or export.

Has Brexit affected the importation and exportation of drug precursor chemicals?

Prior to Brexit, drug precursor chemical regulations were incorporated in Britain by EU law. After Britain’s exit from the European Union, these laws were amended by the Law Enforcement and Security (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 and the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

Since 1 January 2021, EU member state and Northern Ireland are affected by import and export licensing requirements and British companies trading with the EU and Northern Ireland (in some cases) must obtain the correct legal authorisation.

Get in touch with our drug precursor chemicals solicitors

Contact our expert solicitors for advice about drug precursor chemicals by using our simple contact form to request a call back or contacting us on one of the following numbers:

  • Call 0333 009 5968 – for standard enquiries during office hours
  • WhatsApp 07535 215140 – for 24/7 emergency support including police station representation

If you need advice from an expert drugs conspiracy solicitor, come to Conspiracy Solicitors.