Silk Road to jail for meth importer

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 09:00 14/12/2013

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A Palmerston North man who used the infamous Silk Road website to import drugs into New Zealand has a good shot at getting out of prison at his first parole hearing.

Dylan Terry Richardson, 23, was up for sentencing in the Palmerston North District Court yesterday on charges of importing $15,000 of methamphetamine and possessing the drug for supply.

He was found out after Customs intercepted a package in August, addressed to a post office box in his name and containing 15 grams of methamphetamine.

A search of Richardson's house the next month unearthed zip-lock bags, $440 cash, a substance used to cut methamphetamine and another 1.1g of the class A drug.

Police found Richardson had used the Silk Road website to import the drug.

Silk Road was an encrypted website, shut down by the FBI in October, where users would buy and sell illegal goods with the Bitcoin digital currency.

At the sentencing, defence lawyer Steve Winter said the level of Richardson's deception was low, as the parcel and post box were all in his name. The offending had taken place during a traumatic time in his life, Mr Winter said. Richardson's sister - who had cystic fibrosis - had just died, and his father had a stroke three days after the funeral.

He began associating with people who abused drugs and alcohol, and joined in with them.

His mother, father and a close friend were all in the courtroom during the sentencing.

In a letter to Judge Gerard Lynch, Richardson said he had "abandoned" his family in a time of need, his behaviour was destructive, and being arrested could have saved his life.

Judge Lynch said Richardson was genuinely remorseful, and had a low risk of reoffending.

"It is a great shame to see you standing there in front of your family, being sentenced on a serious drug offence.

"It is a significant fall from grace for you, but you have to take responsibility."

Judge Lynch sentenced Richardson to two years and four months' jail but said he was already making good progress toward not serving all of his sentence by actively seeking help for his drug problem.

"It seems to me you are going to be a good candidate for release at your first meeting with the New Zealand Parole Board if you continue along the track you are currently on.

"You must do everything you can during this sentence to put yourself in the best position for your first meeting with the parole board."

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- Manawatu Standard

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