By David Schwartz
PHOENIX (Reuters) - A British man has been extradited to Arizona from Scotland to face trial for illegally exporting and distributing chemicals used to make methamphetamine in the state, authorities said on Thursday.
Brian Howes, 48, was ordered to remain in custody on suspicion of 82 drug-related crimes pending a September 5 trial under an order issued in federal court on Thursday, a U.S. attorney's office spokesman said.
Howes, who faces charges that include unlawful distribution of listed chemicals and conspiracy, arrived in Arizona on Friday, authorities said.
Howes of West Lothian, Scotland, was indicted by a federal grand jury in September 2007 in Arizona and accused of using his company website to illegally sell and distribute two regulated chemicals important in the production of the popular drug.
"Individuals who unlawfully import into our country chemicals used to manufacture harmful drugs cannot escape justice by hiding behind a computer screen in foreign lands," U.S. Attorney John Leonardo said in a statement.
It was not immediately clear if Howes has an attorney. He has maintained in Scottish news reports that he was operating a legitimate chemical business.
Authorities say Howes was the founder and owner of an Internet business that provided 6,900 grams of red phosphorus and 4,850 grams of iodine to customers throughout the state from August 2004 to August 2006.
Howes, along with business partner Kerry Ann Shanks, first set up shop in England and then moved to Scotland after being raided by police and changing the company's name, according a 19-page grand jury indictment. Shanks has been charged but has not yet been extradited.
The indictment states that the company offered "discreet delivery" of the chemicals and purposely misidentified the contents of the shipments to avoid detection.
Investigators were able to obtain emails from customers that pointed out the illegal nature of the chemical sales, the indictment stated.
One customer messaged, "I am interested in Red Phosphorous 100 grams Very Pure but I don't want the DEA knocking on my door," a reference to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Authorities said the operation was much broader than Arizona, supplying at least 70 methamphetamine labs across the country with nearly 300,000 grams of red phosphorus and more than 44,000 grams of iodine during a two-year period.
Howes and Shanks fought to have their case heard in the United Kingdom, but were rejected by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in London last month, according to news reports.
Howes faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted, federal prosecutors said.
(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Eric Walsh)