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Last Updated: Friday, 18 March, 2005, 19:24 GMT
DIY chemist guilty of making drug
Drug manufacturing kit
Police found a drugs factory in Hardison's back bedroom
An American chemist has been found guilty of running one of the largest drug factories ever detected in Sussex.

Lewes Crown Court heard Casey Hardison, 33, of The Vale, Ovingdean, near Brighton, set up an LSD laboratory in his back bedroom.

Armed with chemicals and DIY drugs recipe books he produced hallucinogenic tablets with a value of up to 5m.

Police said it was the one of the most sophisticated operations ever seen. Hardison will be sentenced on 15 April.

'Complex operation'

Hardison was arrested after a parcel he sent to the US was randomly checked and found to contain four bags of ecstasy.

After the find, officers monitored Hardison before arresting him in the Sanctuary Cafe in Hove in February 2004.

When his house was raided police uncovered a drugs factory and a fridge full of chemicals.

The court was told that Hardison made the drugs using 38,386 worth of chemicals he brought from pharmaceutical companies.

Smuggling drugs

Det Con Neil Cuttriss said the investigation had involved many agencies, including police in the USA.

"We have prevented hundreds of thousands of doses of drugs being created and sold on the street," he said.

Hardison was found guilty of three counts of producing hallucinogenic drugs, one count of possessing 145,000 wraps of LSD, one count of possession, and one of smuggling drugs to the USA.

Judge Anthony Niblett said Hardison had supplied drugs to others "for his own greed".

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