Track and field sprinter, Leon Reid, who sprinted for Britain before switching to Ireland, has been charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine, 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 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, who is planning to run at the Tokyo Olympics, was among a group of five men 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 did not enter a plea after being 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 released on bail and is due to appear at Bristol Crown Court on May 12.
The former English schools’ champion won 200m silver for Britain at the European Junior Championships in 2013 and again at the European Under 23 Championships in 2015, but he switched to represent Ireland at the 2018 European Championships.
He won 200m bronze for Northern Ireland at the 2018 Commonwealth Games – the first athletics medal won by Northern Ireland at the Games for 28 years.