A 33-year-old postal worker has been jailed for intercepting a parcel of more than 1,000 'Super Mario Bros' MDMA pills and delivering them to a 29-year-old, who has also been thrown behind bars.
Facing one charge of importation in October 2018, Graham Sinclair Benson-Dias (33) and Callum Robert Hunt (29) were sentenced to six-and-a-half years and six years respectively in the Royal Court this morning.
Benson-Dias also faced one count of possession with intention to supply for 28g of MDMA, which he said he would use himself as well as sharing it with friends - a view the Crown said was not supported by evidence.
Meanwhile, Hunt faced one count of possession with intent to supply just under three kilograms of cannabis resin, as well one of possession of 7.5g of MDMA and 442mg of class B drugs (a mixture of N-Ethylpentylone and 4-Chloroethcathinone).
Presenting the facts to the Royal Court today, Crown Advocate Richard Pedley said on 10 October 2018 a brown envelope containing 1,002 pink tablets embossed with a Super Mario Brothers emblem in a heat-sealed packet was found at Jersey Post’s headquarters.
Pictured: The envelope was found at Jersey Post's headquarters.
The tablets, which tested positive for MDMA, were removed and a tracking device installed in the envelope before it was returned to the postal system.
Later that day, Benson-Dias was seen on delivery in St. George’s Estate with the package in his hand. He went to the door but didn’t deliver anything, although according to the Jersey Post system the package had been signed for around that time, indicating that it had indeed been delivered.
A few hours later, Benson-Dias was seen near St. Mary’s Country Inn where he met Hunt, who put the package in his bag even though he wasn't addressed to him.
When searching Benson-Dias’ home, officers found MDMA powder as well as two sets of scales which tested positive for the presence of cannabinoids.
Hunt’s home was also searched and officers found two blocks, as well as 23 slates of cannabis resin as well as MDMA crystals, the Class B drugs and electronic scales.
Benson-Dias denied knowing the package contained commercial quantity of drugs. He said there was no one at the address so he signed for the package himself and took it back to his van, which he admitted was against postal procedures. However, the Court heard there was indeed someone in the home at the time of the delivery.
Pictured: Customs officers searched the homes of Hunt and Benson-Dias and found more drugs in both properties.
Benson-Dias said a friend he would not name had asked him to give the parcel to a third party at St. Mary’s Pub. He stated that lots of postal workers sign for packages and do not deliver them.
He denied ordering the drugs and said that there was no financial gain for him delivering the package but that he had felt “pressurised” to do it, without giving any further details.
He said he had bought the MDMA powder from someone in St. Helier and denied selling drugs, although he said he might have shared it with friends during his 30th birthday party.
Hunt denied selling drugs but refused to say how much he had paid for the cannabis found in his flat or where he had got it.
The Court heard Hunt left the island in late 2018 or early 2019, whilst Benson-Dias left in February, even though a further interview had already been arranged for 11 March 2019.
They were eventually arrested in July 2021 and August 2021 respectively and both admitted their offences during their first appearance in Royal Court.
Pictured: Advocate Jeremy Heywood was representing Benson-Dias.
Representing Benson-Dias, Advocate Jeremy Heywood, argued a “significantly lower” sentence should be imposed.
He said that despite the evidence they had and his client’s admissions, Customs officers had released him without any bail conditions after which he was a free man “for all intents and purposes”. He said it was only five months later after his interview that Benson-Dias moved to Lanzarote, where he established a business, to “sort himself out” as his life was “something of a mess” at the time.
He argued that his client’s involvement was on the “lower end” as his role was “simply to intercept the package and deliver it” - a view which he said was supported by the fact no cash had been seized from Benson-Dias’ property.
Advocate Heywood argued his client’s previous convictions shouldn’t have an impact on the credit he is given today as they dated back 10 years when he was only 20 and in “considerable difficulty”.
He said Benson-Dias had made efforts to turn his life around since the offences, including becoming sober and addressing his gambling addiction. He also said he had a supportive partner and a young child.
Pictured: Advocate James Bell represented Hunt.
Advocate James Bell, who represented Hunt, argued he was used by those “higher up the chain” and not a key player. He said there was no suggestion there had been neither a “significant financial benefit” nor an “ongoing interest” in the enterprise.
Like Benson-Dias, Advocate Bell said Hunt had been released after his interview with no condition to not leave the island. He said he hadn’t “rushed out of the island” but rather returned to England to live with his parents several months later after his interview, after he lost his job and his his relationship ended which meant he also lost his accommodation. “He felt there was no opportunity for him in Jersey,” Advocate Bell said.
Since moving, he said Hunt had made positive changes, gained a job and had a “law abiding life.
The case was heard by the Bailiff, Timothy Le Cocq, who was sitting with Jurats Jerry Ramsden, Robert Christensen and Karen Le Cornu.
Handing down the Court’s sentence, the Bailiff said neither man should be given any credit for the delay “in light of the circumstances”.
He sentenced Benson-Dias and Hunt to a total of six-and-a-half years and six years in prison respectively and ordered the destruction of the drugs.
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