Judge jails man who imported illicit drugs

Last updated 05:00 11/04/2013

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An Invercargill man has taken New Zealand's free trade agreement with China a step too far after getting on the internet and importing illegal drugs from the communist country.

Justin Alexander Fraser, 27, was yesterday sentenced to two years jail after admitting buying $600 worth of class C drug methylone, otherwise known as bath salts, from China.

Judge Michael Crosbie said Fraser had done a Google search to find the bath salts on the internet.

He paid for the drugs and got them sent to his home address in Invercargill through the normal New Zealand Post customs channels, but they were intercepted by authorities.

When questioned, Fraser said he knew the methylone was illegal and he planned to consume some and give some to friends.

He admitted it was the second time he had imported drugs from China.

On the other occasion, six months previously, he had consumed some of the drugs and given the remainder to friends, he said.

However, his mobile phone contained text messages related to drug dealing and his partner admitted buying bath salts from him, the judge said.

The facts of the case indicated how difficult it was to detect such offending, Judge Crosbie said.

Fraser had found it relatively easy to import the drugs and was out to make a "quick buck", the judge said. "One of the greatest fears of the court is if this sort of drug ends up in the hands of the young and impressionable."

The courts took a very dim view of people who imported or grew drugs to onsell them because once they left the dealers hands other users were potentially at risk, the judge said.

The community needed to be sent a message that people who imported illegal drugs and onsold them would be dealt with severely by the courts, he said.

Fraser did not help his chances of avoiding jail by telling the judge, when asked, that he had not had any counselling for his drug and alcohol problems since first appearing before the courts last August.

"The courts expect to see some kind of interest from a person in terms of rehabilitation," Judge Crosbie said.

When sentencing Fraser, Judge Crosbie told him if he served the sentence in Otago there was a rehabilitative programme there.

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- The Southland Times

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