Teen Darknet Buyer Told to “Grow Up” in Court

A 19-year-old, according to his own admission, had ordered a package of MDMA from a darknet vendor in Holland to “experiment” with the drug. The teenager considered himself a “psychonaut,” a police expert explained. Recorder Gareth Evans QC, who did not believe the teen had ordered MDMA for personal use, told the self-described psychonaut to “grow up.”

On October 4, 2016, Border Force spotted a package deemed “suspicious” and pulled it from the mail stream. The package had shipped from an address in Holland, according to prosecutor Christopher Lester. And if not for the Border Force’s interception, it would have been delivered to the address of 19-year-old Charlie Juson. After opening the package, Border Force officers found an unknown number of ecstasy tablets. Although Recorder Evans verbally expressed his doubts about personal use, the crown prosecution service had only charged Juson with importation and possession crimes.

And, to the Recorder’s clear dismay, the sentence had to reflect a drug possession (and importation) sentence. Juson admitted he had ordered the ecstasy from a darknet vendor in Holland. This resulted in a charge of Class A drug importation. The case did not end there, though. He also admitted to three counts of possession of Class A substances; three counts of possession of Class B substances; three counts of possession of Class C substances. Although the charges stemmed from the package seizure, the combined possession of Class A, B, and C drugs did not.

After seizing the package, law enforcement obtained a search warrant for Juson’s home—the address listed as the package’s final destination. (As a 19-year-old, this house may have been a house shared with his family. He locked down his Twitter account and subsequently shut down that method of gathering accurate Intel.) As expected by the array of possession charges Juson caught, the warrant execution officers found more drugs at his house.

They found small quantities of Mephedrone; psilocybin mushrooms, and an extremely small amount of ketamine. Silas Reid, defending, told the court that as a psychonaut, Juson tried to get as “many different drugs as [he could] get [his] hands on.” This was the reason Juson had so many different drugs in his possession. Reid used several short definitions that described Juson’s behavior.

A phrase from an Earth and Fire Erowid article sums up the defence’s argument for why the teenager had a collection of drugs. A certain type of informed drug users “pride themselves on trying as many substances as possible, seeking out and being the first to experience new substances, as well as trying uncommon and interesting combinations,” the piece explained.

Reid’s argument sounded similar to the except from Erowid. People had contacted Juson about buying drugs, but Juson denied ever replying to texts of the sort. Reid also explained that Juson had received counseling for his drug use and that his arrest was more than a wake-up call.

“Please don’t think for one moment I believe [your story],” the recorder said. “It was an experiment. The experiment is over. Grow up.”

Juson received an eight month prison sentence, suspended upon two years of court supervision; 200 hours of community service; various fines; and mandatory destruction of the seized drugs.