Timothy Fearn admitted he knew packages he was expecting contained ecstasy and methamphetamine. (file photo)
A 33-year-old Christchurch man has admitted his role in importing ecstasy and methamphetamine ordered on the dark web from the Netherlands and the United States.
Timothy Robert Fearn was living at a Bromley address and working at an engineering firm in mid-2016 when the packages arrived.
He admitted two charges of importing the class A drug methamphetamine and the class B drug ecstasy, and selling both drugs in the Christchurch District Court on Friday. A series of offences were alleged, and representative charges were laid, indicated repeated offending.
After Fearn’s guilty pleas, Judge Jane Farish remanded him on bail for sentencing on March 25, and asked for a pre-sentence report which would consider his suitability for home detention, and an alcohol and drugs assessment.
The Crown told the court New Zealand Customs operated a mail screening service at the International Mail Centre at Auckland Airport, which checked international postal articles and freight courier items.
The operation from May to September 2016 in which Fearn and two other people were arrested, was called Operation Skillet. The other two have already been sentenced.
The Crown said the drugs had been ordered over the internet using “dark web” underground sites. Goods were increasingly paid for using Bitcoins, which were seen to be like cash for the internet.
“It is common for the importer of these goods to use false or fictitious names but to use addresses that they have some sort of control over so they can retrieve the items when it arrives.”
Packages containing ecstasy and methamphetamine were intercepted at the International Mail Centre and addressed to Fearn’s address with another person’s name on it, or to other addresses.
Customs intercepted a total of 27g of methamphetamine and 3.6g of ecstasy.
In his interview, Fearn denied being involved in ordering the drugs online but said he had given money to another offender to help with payment for the drugs which that person had ordered.
He admitted he knew the packages he was expecting contained drugs and said he would use some himself, and sell the rest. Messages found on his cell phone indicated drug dealing.