A 22-year old man has been handed a two-year suspended jail sentence after he bought 350 ecstasy tablets from the Netherlands and Germany via the dark web.
The culprit, Tyler James Evers, of Strong Street in Terang, a town in the Western District of Victoria, Australia pleaded guilty to importing speed, and three counts of importing a marketable quantity of ecstasy in a County Court in Warrnambool. His arrest came after an investigation conducted by the Australian Federal Police.
Officers of the Taskforce Icarus raided a Terang home believed to be his parent’s and also his home in Strong Street after four packages he ordered from the dark web were intercepted by border protection officers.
The joint task force known as Icarus has been underway since December and combines investigators from the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Victoria Police and Customs.
Upon interrogation, Evers told investigators that, he purchased the drugs for personal use and also to sell since he was seriously in need of money.
He stated further that he realized that things were very cheap on the dark web which lured him to use bitcoin, an online cryptocurrency to pay for the four deliveries.
Border Protection Officers on May 17, 2016 inspected a package coming from Belgium addressed to be delivered to Evers’ parent’s home.
It happened to contain one gram of white paste which after testing was revealed as amphetamine, popularly as speed. It was although destroyed by officers since it was small in quantity and couldn’t bear any major importance in the investigation.
Not long after that operation, a second package from the Netherlands was also examined and happens to contain 104 ecstasy tablets, a total of 7.4 grams of pure MDMA.
A third package afterward contained 50 ecstasy tablets from the Netherlands with another 200 arriving the following day from Germany.
The total weight of the pure MDMA was 36.5 grams.
Australia’s battle with ecstasy seems to be swelling with a recent research revealing that ecstasy is on the rise among young Australians especially party goers with the drug increasing in purity and strength.
A survey was done on psycho stimulant users by the Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS), and found that nearly 60% of users took ecstasy in a high-purity crystal form.
Further results of the research also revealed that ecstasy is now more accessible than ever before, with 90% of users describing it as easy to obtain, with the help of the dark web.
“As the crystal form of ecstasy is relatively new we are still gaining information about how users respond to it,” said Amanda Roxburgh from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at the University of NSW.
“It is reasonable to assume that increased purity, coupled with uncertainty around the amount of the drug being taken, increases risks.”
“The majority of ecstasy users do not use frequently, however, a significant minority are using weekly or more. In addition, 40% of users say they have ‘binged’ on stimulants. We define bingeing as using it for more than two days without sleep. Bingeing coupled with higher purity increases the risk to users,” she added.
Liz Gaynor, the judge who handed the sentence stated although the charges were exceedingly serious, getting up to 25 years imprisonment would be very unjust since there were some strong factors that sweeten Evers’ case.
She went ahead to say that, the use of ecstasy was more extensive and more common than what the community had in mind. It is also very rare for users to turn into dealing.
She then told Evers that, he was being given a last lucky chance to stay off drugs and that if he does anything contrary to that, the chances of him getting into trouble again would be much higher.
“This is a big chance – don’t muck it up,” Judge Liz Gaynor warned Evers.
Judge Gaynor also revealed that Evers was a university drop out after just two years with his cannabis use increased to ice and ecstasy.
The Judge also added that it was important that Evers made relentless efforts to overcome issues or he would be at risk of breaching his sentence and being jailed.
“The suspended sentence is not just the court going easy on you, you’re on a knife’s edge,” she stated.
“It’s a serious offense and if the sentence is breached you can confidently expect to receive a jail sentence. This is a very special circumstance.”