A 20-year-old Auckland man will spend the next eight months on home detention after he was caught importing LSD and ecstasy into New Zealand by mail.
Cameron Jari Alexander Britton was sentenced in the Waitakere District Court today and would have been sent to prison if not for his youth and early guilty plea.
Britton, from Orewa, was arrested late last year after packages arrived in New Zealand from Poland addressed to a post office box he was using.
In April he pleaded guilty to 10 charges of importing LSD and MDMA - more commonly known as ecstasy - offering to supply the drugs and supplying.
Some of the charges were representative, meaning police believe there were multiple occasions of offending but the specific number could not be ascertained.
In June last year Customs officers intercepted a package addressed to Britton at the Auckland Mail Centre, the court heard.
The package had come from Poland and was addressed to a post office box in Red Beach.
It was opened and found to contain 50.3g of MDMA.
In August a second package was intercepted.
It was addressed to the same post office box but had the name of the man who used the box before Britton.
Again, MDMA was found in the package.
Customs alerted police and on November 1, police searched Britton's home.
There, police found cannabis and 600 tabs of LSD.
They seized his phone and computer and a search of the devices proved Britton had been importing the drugs from Poland through the dark web - a part of the internet only accessible through special software that allows users to remain anonymous and untraceable.
Evidence of software that conceals a computer user's location and allows anonymous communication was also found.
Judge Anna Johns revealed that before he was caught Britton had asked some friends if he could have packages delivered to them, and approached others to see if they would open post offices boxes in their names so he could have items delivered.
She said his computer history shed more light on his offending.
Searches for drugs, mixing drugs, how to avoid detection and "how not to get your car searched" were logged.
Britton was also putting the MDMA into capsules himself and had notes saved on his cellphone with information about the process, along with a summary relating to the process of importing cannabis from Holland, and texts that clearly showed he was supplying drugs.
"You did all this through the internet and largely through the dark web," she said.
"You supplied to friends, and friends of friends and also consumed the drugs yourself and did make money out of the venture.
"I need to hold you accountable for the harm done by importing and distributing drugs in our community.
"Anyone in this courtroom will know we have major issues with drug and alcohol use in New Zealand.
"So not only do I need to hold you accountable for the harm that importing and distributing does, I also need to denounce your conduct and try through the sentencing process to deter you and others from similar offending."
Judge Johns began with a starting point of three-and-a-half years in prison for the LSD offending, and added 18 months for the other charges.
She the applied a discount of 20 per cent for Britton's early guilty plea, 25 per cent for his youth, as he was 19 when the offending occurred.
She said his pre-sentence report was also "very positive" and confirmed he had already completed a drug and alcohol course, which all helped reduce his sentence.
After his sentence was halved, Britton was eligible for home detention.
"You are now in a stable living situation with people described by your probation officer as pro-social and supportive of you," Judge Johns said.
"You are estranged from your family which may explain why you became involved in this serious drug offending at a young age.
"My view is that a home detention sentence of eight months is appropriate here and so you are convicted and sentenced."
Britton was also ordered to complete 200 hours of community work and undertake any rehabilitation programmes his probation officer directed.
He will spend his sentence at an Orewa address and has been banned from possessing or using any alcohol or drugs not prescribed to him.
"If you breach home detention you are very likely to go into custody," Judge Johns warned.