A man from New Zealand was sentenced to prison for purchasing drugs from overseas countries and for ordering substances used for the production of crystal methamphetamine. He allegedly conducted all deals on the dark web.
Leigh James Thomas, 30, of Himatangi Beach, New Zealand was sentenced to prison importing methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy along with substances and equipment used to make crystal meth. The defendant had his packages labeled as toys, cellphone packaging samples, and phone accessories. However, the court heard, law enforcement authorities seized the drug parcels anyways. Court records and media outlets only mention the man “tried to fool” police officers by mislabeling the packages. However, since the parcels were sent to his address from the narcotics dealers, the vendors had to write the components of the package to the mail. This way, there is a possibility that the man asked the dealers to provide false documentation on the parcels.
On July 9, the Palmerston North District Court sentenced Thomas to three years and 11 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to multiple charges relating to the importation of drugs.
The defendant was arrested in the course of Operation Wax, a police action aiming at the investigation of narcotic imports in the Himatangi Beach area. During a four-month period in 2015, Thomas imported multiple packages containing narcotics from various countries. According to the court documents, the parcels were addressed to three different Himatangi Beach properties Thomas had connections to. Police information disclosed that the 30-year-old ordered 52.76 grams of methamphetamine, 1.06 grams of cocaine, 22 ecstasy tablets and 202 grams of red phosphorus acid from the dark web. Law enforcement authorities estimated that the 202 grams of the acid were enough to produce approximately 282 grams of methamphetamine. Additionally, Thomas also tried to import laboratory equipment commonly used in the procedure of synthesizing crystal meth.
In March 2016, law enforcement authorities raided the three Himatangi Beach houses. In one of the premises, they found Thomas who was taken into custody. However, before his arrest, the defendant grabbed his laptop and poured liquid on it when he heard that the police at his door, in an effort to destroy the evidence. Despite his efforts, investigators were able to analyze the hard disks of the laptop and discovered that the defendant searched for methamphetamine recipes and information about chemicals, such as pseudoephedrine and phosphorus, which are typically used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.
Law enforcement authorities also found evidence that the man searched for the Tor network and bitcoins. This evidence was enough for the police to see that Thomas ordered the narcotics from the dark web.
Steve Winter, from defense, stated that Thomas sought to be sentenced on July 6 – three days earlier –, however, Judge Lance Rowe said he was “flying far too blind” to do so and ordered that the man should be kept in custody until his sentencing hearing on July 9.