A teenager has been jailed for importing hundreds of Ecstasy tablets from Holland.
Thomas Allen, 19, from Great Ouseburn, used the dark web to order the drugs online and planned to sell them on for profit or use to feed his own addiction.
But he was rumbled when customs officers in London intercepted a package bound for Allen’s home.
Police were informed and arrested Allen at his workplace.
During a subsequent search of his home, they found a stash of MDMA, a crystallised form of Ecstasy, and a small amount of cannabis inside a caravan in the back yard which the teenager had turned into a drug den.
Allen, of Main Street, was arrested and charged with importing Class A drugs, possessing MDMA with intent to supply and possession of Class B cannabis. He admitted the offences and appeared for sentence on Monday.
Prosecutor Rob Galley said staff at the Greater London Royal Mail depot found 251 Ecstasy tablets inside the package which had come from an address in the Netherlands. Allen had bought the tablets online using the internet currency Bitcoin.
“He had been putting (this) currency into an account and using the money on the dark web, using the name ‘Top Broker’ (and) spending a thousand pounds on previous consignments over a period of (about) six months,” added the barrister. “He said he could get the drugs cheaper abroad by buying in bulk.”
Allen told officers they would find “a bit of weed” at the caravan in his back garden.
Officers searched the caravan where, unbeknown to his parents, Allen had set up a drug-dealing base. They found a cannabis grinder, drug wraps, electronic scales and some herbal cannabis.
Inside a locked safe were nine packages containing a combined 10.3g of high-purity, “import-strength” MDMA.
Officers also found text messages on a mobile phone where Allen had offered to sell eight bags of MDMA to one individual.
Allen told police: “I want to admit it. I want to tell you just what I did and I want to get it sorted out.”
He admitted he was a heavy MDMA user but that he had also bagged up some of the 92-per-cent-purity crystal powder to sell on to friends. He said he had bought the Ecstasy package for £490.
The Crown said Allen would have netted four times that original outlay by selling the drugs for £7 or £8 per tablet.
Defence barrister Helen Chapman said: “This is not someone importing drugs with aspirations to become a heavyweight drug dealer. He was taking these drugs for the most part himself.
“His parents are educated, reasonable people. They are simply devastated that the struggle their son has had with drugs, beginning at the age of 12, has been essentially kept from them by him and has ended in this way.”
Judge Paul Batty QC said he had noted Allen’s frankness with police, the steps he had taken to rid himself of drugs, the “raft of extremely impressive testimonials which speak as to the other side of your character”, and the fact that he was from a “loving, supportive” family.
“This makes the melancholy task I have this morning all the more difficult,” added Mr Batty. “You knew perfectly well that this activity was illegal but you carried on with it in order to make money for yourself and to fund your own addiction. You were well-steeped in what you were doing by the time that customs officers intercepted that parcel.”
Mr Batty sentenced Allen to 32 months in a young-offenders’ institution.