A CHEF from Fivemiletown who organised the import of Mephedrone from China through the internet has been jailed along with an accomplice who allowed the drugs to be sent to his home.
Andrew Kirkpatrick (23) of Clabby Road, Fivemiletown, the instigator of the illegal enterprise, was jailed for two years and eight months which will comprise of 16 months in custody and 16 months on licence.
Dylan Michael Durien (22) of Cherryhill, Drumbrughas North Lisnaskea was jailed for 12 months with six months in prison and six months on licence.
Referring to the Class B drug Mephedrone, Judge Jeffrey Miller (QC) said “there are no safe drugs and ‘soft’ drugs are dangerous.”
He also described Kirkpatrick’s plan to distribute drugs as “cynical and unforgivable” as the defendant was hospitalised due to an adverse reaction to ‘legal highs’ and had stopped using them.
Both men were convicted of conspiracy to import Mephedrone while Kirkpatrick also admitted possession and the transfer of criminal property.
Previously referred to as a ‘legal high,’ Mephedrone was proscribed as illegal in April 2010.
On October 27, 2011 officers of the Serious Organised Crime Agency searched Kirkpatrick’s home and discovered a laptop in his bedroom that he was using to order Mephedrone from a website in China.
He was ordering the drugs be sent to Durien’s address in Lisnaskea with the payment going into an account in Shanghai, China.
In a further search at Durien’s home, police discovered a box with traces of Mephedrone that was packaged with the same serial number as an order Kirkpatrick made for one kilogram of the drug.
Investigators also discovered that Kirkpatrick had paid £56,001 from his account to a company in China.
He has also paid cash amounting to £83,802 into his account although there was no money in it when it was investigated by police.
A proceeds of crime application was not made against him.
The Crown Court in Dungannon was told money passing through his account was not part of any legitimate business but it is not possible to say what proportion was the product of Mephedrone and what was the product of legal ‘designer’ drugs.
Barrister Ian Turkington, instructed by Patrick Fahy and Co solicitors, said his client Kirkpatrick was entitled to credit for pleading guilty to the offences thereby saving an expensive court trial.
He added that the chef candidly accepted he took the decision to move from legal highs to the “real thing” and it was a “reflection of the market as people wanted the Class B drug.”
Mr Turkington pointed to his client’s “remorse” and concluded by describing him as “a good young man who has learnt a very hard lesson.”
Des Fahy, instructed by Fahy and Corrigan solicitors, represented Durien.
He said his client had been naive in allowing his address to be used as a drop-off for the drugs and that he had nothing in his previous history to suggest he is the type of person to get involved with drugs.
He added that Durien played a “lesser role” in the enterprise and his behaviour had been “totally out of character.”
Sending both men to jail, Judge Miller said he needed to send out the clear message to others who might be tempted to make a profit from the “clearly harmful and pernicious” trade in illegal drugs.
He took into account the roles each defendant played in the conspiracy when determining the length of their sentences.