An 18-year-old teenager from the English island of Jersey, off the coast of France, has escaped jail time after confessing to ordering a package that contained about 300 ecstasy pills from the dark web.
The culprit, whose name is identified as Joel Lewis, had arraigned for a letter to be delivered to Mayfair Hotel where he made a reservation request under an alias.
He claimed that the letter was imperative for a meeting during his stay at the hotel.
About a week later, he phoned the hotel to notify them that the letter would arrive soon and that he be made aware the moment the letter is delivered.
The hotel management told him that he had to make a booking with the hotel for this to happen in accordance to the hotel policy, after which he promptly made the booking.
This arose some level of suspicion and the hotel management contacted the authorities who came to inspect the two envelopes that were later delivered.
They discovered that the packages, which were delivered from Netherlands, contained 304 ecstasy tablets.
Details About the Arrest
Authorities later arrested Lewis in school, following CCTV footage of him arriving at the hotel to pay for the booking.
Authorities later raided his house and found a tin in the garden containing 47 grams of powder MDMA, 2.6 grams of cannabis and some amount of ketamine.
In an interrogation, the culprit admitted to ordering the drugs. He also confessed that he had conducted a similar operation with a hotel in Saint Malo, France.
This operation however proved to be successful unlike the one in the Mayfair Hotel.
He revealed to authorities that he had travelled to France to pick up his order, which was 50 grams of pure MDMA in its powdered form, returned the same day with the package and handed it to two unnamed members of his network.
Upon further inquiry by the authorities on his network, he revealed that his “associates” handle all the dirty work so that he himself doesn’t have to.
That way, he never has to have any direct contact with the drugs.
He further added that these associates also acted as his financial backers and he received a percentage of the profits from the transactions.
A rough estimate of the contraband was believed to have a street value of figures around 9,175 to 12,725 Euros.
Lewis further added during his interrogation that this would have been the final drug deal that he would have been involved in because the business proved to have been too risky and stressful to warrant any future involvement.
The Case Proceeding and the Final Court Judgment
Appearing in the Royal Court, Lewis pleaded guilty to two counts of importing class A drugs and two counts of possession of controlled substances.
Defense representative Sarah Dale made a statement that Lewis involved himself with the drugs in a bid to fit in.
She then goes on to say that Lewis accepts that the decisions that he made were wrong.
Furthermore, the court heard that Lewis’ offending had jeopardized his hopes for career opportunity as an army officer.
Lewis, who was 17 at the time of ordering the MDMA, recently received a fully funded bursary offered by the army which he wished to pursue upon completion of his A levels.
Although the bursary had since been withdrawn, Dale pleaded with the court to opt for a community service order for the teenager.
She said this would give him a greater chance of joining the army and it would not delay his admission in the manner that a custodial sentencing would.
The Crown advocate Conrad Yates ruled that Lewis had a fundamental role in importing and distributing controlled substances in the country.
He further added that Lewis had freely confessed to importing illegal drugs to make a substantial profit, a crime that would have a starting point of between nine and 11 years in prison before asking the court to impose a two and a half year sentence.
Dale defended Lewis by saying that he admitted the offenses at the earliest opportunity and aided the police investigation by admitting the St.
Malo involvement and expressed genuine remorse for his actions.
She claimed that Lewis had committed a very serious mistake but the court should not strip him of a very promising career by detaining him.
Furthermore, other mitigating factors that worked in his favor included his young age, a clean record, exceptional references which impressed the interviewers enough to grant him an army bursary, a supportive family and the fact that they took his remorse to be genuine and did not believe he would offend again.
Although the final verdict was not unanimous, Lewis was sentenced into 384 hours of community service instead of two and a half years in prison.
The deputy bailiff, Tim Le Cocq, made a statement and said that it is still inexplicable to all who knew him how he arrived to such an unwise decision.
He further went on to say that, the community service should not be underestimated or taken lightly as it would be quite the grueling experience which would cost the teenager a lot of time during weekends and it will be a challenge which he will complete with the utmost regard.
He warned that should he be presented to the court with similar charges in the future, harsher and sterner measures will be taken.
The administration of Victoria College, which was Lewis’ previous school, has taken an initiative to reassure parents and guardians that affirmative awareness will be passed on to the students to educate them on the dangers of illegal substances.
Though Lewis’ sentence has already been handed to him, an appeal may be initiated in the coming weeks.
Attorney General Robert MacRae stated last week through a spokesperson that he is considering appealing the sentence.
Another Teenager Busted Buying Ecstasy from the Dark Web
The rate of teenage ecstasy busts has grown increasingly over the recent past as not so long ago, a similar case was recorded whereby a darknet purchase of ecstasy by a teenager who was celebrating an end to his A levels was intercepted by authorities.
Jake Peter Clarke, an 18-year-old from Rue des Landes in St. John, confessed to charges of importing 200 Euros worth of ecstasy.
Centenier John Camara gave a statement in the magistrate’s court saying that on the first of June, a package addressed to the defendant was intercepted by customs officers and examined at the Jersey Post headquarters and ecstasy was contained inside.
Clarke was arrested a week later and a search in his home unveiled a gram of cannabis resin, a water bong and electronic weighing scales—further arousing their suspicion.
Upon questioning, the 18-year-old confessed to ordering ecstasy from the dark web in order to celebrate the end of A level education.
He went on to further admit that he previously imported more MDMA tablets and LSD bloaters in preceding months.
He also opened up to the possession of cannabis.
His defense representative, Christina Hall, was pivotal in the outcome of his case—claiming that he bought the drugs for his personal use and that he had no intention of distributing the said illegal substances.
She also went on to declare that he has been exceptionally cooperative with investigators by voluntarily admitting to past importations.
In sentencing, relief magistrate David Le Cornu said that it was accepted it was a temporary blip and that the teenager was of otherwise good character.