Drug gang leader Thomas Rayment was exposed in a dog breed investigation

THE leader of a drug gang that flooded a neighboring town with more than £100,000 worth of Class A drugs has been exposed in a TV investigation.

A BBC Panorama inquiry has found that breeding dogs has become a popular profiteer for organized crime groups.

The puppies often have exaggerated features such as deformed legs and muscular frames that can lead to serious health problems.

The RSPCA has warned that criminals are breeding and selling these dogs to launder money, and the charity adds that animal welfare suffers for huge financial gains.

Undercover reporter Sam Poling received a message from Thomas Rayment’s profile on her fake Facebook profile asking if she was interested in buying an American bulldog.

She was sent photos of two dogs demonstrating ear cropping, which involves cutting off the tips of the dogs’ ears, which is illegal in the UK and carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.

The leader of the Burtonwood drug ring was jailed in February 2021 for supplying heroin and crack cocaine in the city.

According to Panorama, Brookvale Close-based Rayment claims to own the UK arm of an international franchise called Muscletone Bullys after an eight-month investigation.

With Rayment in prison, his business partner Ryan Howard meets with the undercover reporter to discuss possible dog “co-ownership,” a practice in which an investor takes care of a dog while the breeder puts it to service , and the couple splits the winnings.

However, Howard confirms that Rayment was messaging people from prison.

An anonymous animal welfare investigator told Ms Poling of dog breeding: “It’s an extremely lucrative business, with a multitude of breeders across the UK linked together.

“The more extreme dogs you produce, the more money you get.

“The big breeders, most of them, are criminals – drug dealers, organized crime groups who run the market. It’s exactly the same business model as selling drugs, but they’re dogs.”

When Rayment was convicted at Liverpool Crown Court in early 2021, he claimed his illicit drug money came from his dog breeding.

However, detectives revealed that he had directed the activities of a trafficking network, and the defendant later pled guilty to charges of conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin.

When asked to comment to Panorama, Muscletone Bullys said it breeds “extreme American bullys of the highest quality” without “compromising the health or welfare of the dog.”

The company also stated, “Thomas Rayment does not communicate with anyone illegally and lets others direct his social networks.”

The BBC Panorama documentary can be viewed BBC iPlayer.

https://www.sthelensstar.co.uk/news/23284567.drug-gang-leader-thomas-rayment-exposed-dog-breading-probe/?ref=rss Drug gang leader Thomas Rayment was exposed in a dog breed investigation

Brian Ashcraft

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