Rockingham: man who used dark web to buy meth escapes jail term

Stock image.
Stock image.

A MAN who used encryption apps to access the dark web to buy methamphetamine has narrowly avoided a prison term.

Daniel John Smith appeared at Rockingham Magistrates court where he pleaded guilty to attempting to possess prohibited drugs with intent to sell or supply, possessing cannabis, possessing drug paraphernalia and possession of stolen or unlawfully obtained property.

The prosecutor said he used an app to purchase 3.5g of methamphetamine.

He said on August 29, 2017 Smith used an app to encrypt texts he sent to a supplier on the dark web to place an order for 3.5grams of meth.

On September 1, 2017, at the Australia Post mail centre, a package addressed to Daniel John Smith was intercepted by police who opened it, took out the meth and replaced it with an inert substance.

It was then re-packaged and sent on to Smith’s address.

Shortly after it arrived police executed a drugs search warrant and found the package in a bedroom at Smith’s address.

They also found 10 diazepam tablets and another drug, zolpidem (sleeping tablets) that Smith did not have a prescription for.

Smith’s lawyer said the facts were accepted in full.

She said he worked as a high-pressure water cleaner and from 2015, due to the mining downturn, he would sometimes go up to a month without work and was afraid he would lose everything he had worked hard for.

She said he knew it was not the way to deal with things and he did not have a prior criminal record.

She said he was extremely remorseful and did have treatment needs.

Magistrate Leanne Atkins said there was a deal of planning.

“You went to a great deal of effort to obtain drugs by using encrypted web browsers to access the dark web and secure an order,” she said.

“It shows pre-planning on your behalf and that gives me cause for concern.

“Meth is a scourge on our society – the only appropriate sentence is imprisonment but that will be suspended.”

She gave him a suspended imprisonment term of eight months suspended for 18 months along with an 18-month community based order with urine analysis, programs and counselling.