A 30-year-old man with a “serious cocaine habit” has been jailed for six-and-a-half years after he imported 35.4 grams of high purity cocaine into the island, part of which would have been sold on to fund his addiction.
Thomas John Foulger was carrying the drugs internally when he was stopped by Customs Officers on 4 December 2019.
Crown Advocate Emma Hollywood told the Court that Foulger, who is from Portsmouth, moved to Jersey in July 2019 and was hired to work as a dry liner/plaster.
Pictured: Foulger was stopped by Customs Officers at the airport on 4 December 2019.
He admitted he had had a cocaine habit for some time but that it had escalated to using crack cocaine after being introduced to it during a party in the UK in September 2019. In the months that followed, Foulger said he worked less and carried out regular short trips to the UK “for blow-outs."
Records showed that between September and December 2019 Foulger had made 15 trips between Jersey and Southampton.
On 4 December 2019, he was stopped by Customs Officers at Jersey Airport after returning from Southampton. Foulger initially said he had nothing to declare but officers suspected he was carrying drugs internally and arrested him.
Shortly after, he told an officer he was going “to pass something”. The package he produced was found to contain 35.45 grams of cocaine of 83% purity. The street value was estimated at up to £5,300 if sold as such. If adulterated, it was suggested the drugs could have been worth as much as £18,000.
Foulger said the drugs were for his own use and that he intended to process them into crack cocaine. He said he was smoking at least seven grams a day and may have shared some of the drugs with his then-girlfriend.
A drugs trafficking expert however suggested the amount of cocaine seized represented a commercial quantity.
Pictured: Records showed that between September and December 2019 Foulger had made 15 trips between Jersey and Southampton.
Crown Advocate Hollywood said that due to the Foulger’s lack of assets, lack of money in his bank accounts and irregular working pattern - due to the trips he was making to the UK - in conjunction with his spiralling drug addiction - the Crown’s case was that he had imported some of the cocaine to sell onto acquaintances to fund his addiction.
She added that the amount imported and the high quality of the cocaine were evidence that Foulger had intention to supply some of the 35 grams, noting it could have been bulked up to four or five times its original amount.
This view was rejected by the defence lawyer, Advocate Alanna Binnie, who said Foulger was so affected by his addiction at the time of his arrest, he would have been unable to adulterate the drugs or think “economically about the drugs."
She said her client was consuming around seven grams of cocaine every day at a time of his arrest and that he was already feeling the effects of withdrawal hours after his arrest.
She argued the Crown should have given more consideration to how “foolish” the decision to bring drugs into the island had been as well as allowed more credit for his guilty plea, as he had been fully cooperative as well as candid about his level of addiction.
Pictured: Foulger has been engaging engaging with a Substance Misuse Officer and a psychologist while in prison.
She told Court Foulger had suffered several difficulties in his life and had started using drugs at a time he felt he wasn’t coping. She said that while in custody, he had started engaging with a Substance Misuse Officer and a psychologist.
The lawyer urged the Court to read Foulger’s insightful letter, in which he thanked the customs officers who stopped him, saying he would be dead because of his level of addiction.
She suggested that a sentence of no more than five years was appropriate.
Royal Court Commissioner Julian Clyde-Smith, who was sitting with Jurats Collette Crill, Charles Blampied and Jerry Ramsden, eventually agreed with the Crown’s conclusions and imposed a sentence of six-and-a-half years.
The Commissioner noted how Foulger’s “serious cocaine habit” had escalated into using crack cocaine. He said the intervention of the Customs Officers had been “timely” has Foulger‘s addiction had gotten out of control.
He referred to the Social Enquiry Report which described Foulger has a “complex person” with a “chaotic existence’ which had been disrupted by the impact of drugs.
Concluding his address, the Commissioner said it was ”terrible” to see how addiction had ruined Foulger’s life and voiced the hopes that he would “take advantage of the treatment available to him in prison and after his release” to address it.
The Court ordered the destruction of the drugs and will reconvene at a later date to discuss a confiscation order.
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