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Jail instead of Uni

MEDIA RELEASE

2 April 2014

Jail instead of Uni

20-year-old student Benjamen Belmont will be spending several semesters behind bars after he was sentenced to 4 years and 10 months’ imprisonment for the importation and possession for supply of class A and B drugs in Palmerston North District Court today.

Mr Belmont was also charged with the illegal possession of a firearm.

Customs officers at the International Mail Centre intercepted the drugs which were ordered online and shipped to Belmont’s various addresses on between November 2012 and April 2013.

The drugs are estimated to have a street value of around $65,000.

Manager Investigations, Maurice O’Brien says this result serves a strong warning to those who seek to profit from the importation of these harmful substances.

“This young man believed he could import drugs in several small shipments and hide the profits without getting caught, but this type of offending does not go unnoticed.”

Three shipments of MDMA, which contained between 144 and 568 pills were intercepted in April last year, prompting Police and Customs officers to execute a search warrant at Belmont’s home where they found pills and a firearm. Other smaller parcels of cocaine, MDMA, and LSD had been previously intercepted.

Further searches on another address occupied by Belmont located additional MDMA, cocaine, LSD, and methamphetamine, along with over $80,000 in cash.

Mr Belmont had created a sophisticated system using several bank accounts in an effort to avoid detection. He was found to have in excess of $120,000 across various accounts and at his residence, most of which he transferred into bitcoins, a digital currency used for anonymous online trading.

Detective Sergeant Dave Thompson of the Manawatu CIB says: “Both Police and Customs are committed to preventing these harmful substances reaching our communities and today’s sentencing is an example of the collaboration between both agencies.”

“The consequences for peddling illicit drugs are severe and those that choose to go down this path will be held fully accountable for their negligent actions,” he says.

-ends-

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