Sometimes the only way out of a bad situation is to dig deeper. Such was the case for Levi Bertanees, a Dunedin chef arrested after allegedly importing class B drugs from a darknet marketplace. This all took place in the United Kingdom using the Royal Mail post, a postal service not typically at the level of the United States Postal Inspectors Service, that is known for having all the darknet experts and former vendors working for them.
Bertanees admitted to being a darknet drug trafficker but with good intentions! He imported close to $156,000 in illegal ecstasy pills, a drug of euphoric side effects and the relief of other anxiety related problems. But the kicker was that he did all this for his kids. He admitted starting a drug trade to support his family.
“It’s not free to raise these kids,” according to the police report summarizing Mr. Bertanees interrogation in court.
Bertanees pleaded guilty of purchasing and trading the class B controlled substances MDMA into the UK before a Judge at the Dunedin District Court yesterday. It was just reported last year that MDMA was one of the hottest traded darknet drugs. Australian Border Police arrest people often for MDMA darknet drug trafficking, for instance.
According to his counsel Savage Campbell, the purchase of illegal drugs among other items and delivery by mail was becoming increasingly common as it is becoming increasingly risky and difficult to trade illicit products on the streets. Now the drug traffickers have opted to go online using software and cryptocurrencies that guarantee online anonymity.
“This is just a single example where we have young adults buying illicit substances on the dark web marketplaces with ease,” Campbell said. ”The ease at which the procurement is made shows the gravity of the matter. Most people are like Levi, and there are too many, and before they get arrested, it’s too late and the damage is bad enough.”
Levi Bertanees illegal dealings popped up after the law enforcement agencies inspected a package that was received from the United Kingdom on October 24 last year. On examining the package, it was found to contain 392g of ecstasy. On November 1, the package was collected and delivered by customs staff to the house for signing by the defendant.
The police also raided Levi Bertanees’ property soon after he opened his consignment and found MDMA packed in bags ready for sale, alongside digital weighing machines, gelatine capsules and packaging materials. According to the court file, there was also an empty box which was found in the house with an address to L Hunter that had been sent in August from the United Kingdom.
The police said that the ecstasy had a street value of about $400 a gram and hence the Bertanees’ shipment, therefore, had a price value of over $150,000.
In an earlier hearing, Levi Bertanees’ lawyer told the Dunedin court that there was no solid evidence to show that Levi was living an expensive and extravagant lifestyle. Bertanees said that he was only providing for his family and had never accessed the deep web to sell drugs more than his loyal customers at a price of $200 per gram.
In a statement, the defendant explained that it was difficult to raise children and that Bertanees had to do anything to raise his own. Mr. Campbell said his client was in serious trouble and had let his family down.
“Sometimes it is not about what you do but what you do about it. Bertanees will take any positive opportunity to make his life better while in prison,” Mr. Campbell added.
Judge Michael Turner at Dunedin District Court jailed Bertanees for four years after he pleaded guilty. He also acknowledged that the defendant was frank enough and also cooperated with the law enforcement agencies and that his case would lead to more arrests. Bertanees supporters told him of how much they loved him as he was escorted out of court to the prison.