A drug dealer who ran a fake ”medical marijuana” racket in Britain as a front to smuggle thousands of pounds worth of cannabis into the UK for profit has been jailed for four and a half years.
Nathan Doyle, 34, used the dark web and cryptocurrency to order a string of consignments of cannabis from Canada – claiming he wanted to offer the drug to those who needed it for pain relief.
Doyle had the drugs delivered to his home on Brackley Avenue, Hulme .
He also set up his own PO Box account to have cannabis, and THC, a potent form of cannabis oil, sent to a company location on Deansgate .
Manchester Crown Court heard that UK Borders Agency first intercepted a package of drugs addressed to Doyle, at Coventry Airport in 2015.
When inspected by officers it was found to contain 16g of cocaine, with a value of £800.
In September 2016, a package of 130g of cannabis destined for Doyle’s home, and worth £1,300, was uncovered by the Borders Agency.
In May 2017, another package of cannabis with a value of £1,800 from Canada addressed to Deansgate, was intercepted.
And in June 2017, the Canadian Borders Agency intercepted a 140g consignment of cannabis worth £1,4000 bound for Doyle at his PO Box.
Officers from Greater Manchester Police visited the company where Doyle had set-up the PO Box address.
They discovered a parcel had just arrived for Doyle containing 14g of individual foil packages of class B drug “shatter” – a highly potent form of THC cannabis oil.
Doyle was arrested on Monday 8 August, 2017 on suspicion of importing class A and B controlled drugs.
When searching his address, officers found evidence that the packages had been emptied into glass jars and that he had been extracting the THC oil from herbal cannabis.
A large quantity of smell proof pouches, snap bags, jiffy bags and large letter stamps were also discovered, suggesting that Doyle was supplying the drugs in the same way that he is importing them.
Police also uncovered £5,000 worth of cannabis and a ready to grow magic mushroom kit – which had been imported from Amsterdam – and a small jar of magic mushrooms.
A fifth package arrived while he was being interviewed. It contained 250g of herbal cannabis with £5,000 hidden inside a boxed spiral slicer.
In court Doyle appeared unrepresented and said: “I’m a medical cannabis user – I’m not a dangerous substance user and I’m not a danger to society I’m a vulnerable adult.
“I was a homeless alcoholic thanks to my father’s bad example and I also had a serious head injury – the only thing that has ever had any medical benefit for me is cannabis.
“I’m not a danger to society – it is a danger to me and I can’t accept this as fair. I just want to use cannabis as medicine like the Rastafarians and the Hindus have for thousands of years. It is medical, herbal. It is not man made. Cannabis is a medicine not a drug.”
But sentencing, the judge Mr Justice William Davis told him: “The notion that you were bringing in medical cannabis for medical purposes isn’t borne out.
“You illegally brought into this country quantities of cannabis and it was apparent from what was found at your home that this was a regular thing.
“You told the jury in your evidence that you did what you did in a way that made sure you hid from the law and you used cryptocurrency in order to be discrete. You told the jury you were trying to avoid detection and you knew it was against the law.
“Your case was you were only bringing in cannabis to give to fellow sufferers of a variety of illnesses. But I conclude that you were not engaged in a medical exercise – it was for profit. The various consignments indicate to me they were importations for profit.
Detective Chief Inspector Terry Crompton, of GMP’s City of Manchester division, said: “Nathan Doyle thought he was above the law and beyond detection.
“During this operation we monitored him closely as he carried out his illegal activities from his home address and the city centre.
“I would like to thank the officers in this case, as it is thanks to all of their hard work that this man is behind bars.
“I hope this sentencing sends a clear message that we will relentlessly pursue those who import drugs and we go to great lengths to bring them to justice.”
Doyle, of Brackley Avenue, Hulme, was sentenced to four years and six months for possession of class A drug psilocybin, importation of cocaine, and three counts of importation of cannabis.
He was also sentenced for importation of THC, possession with intent to supply cannabis and production of class B drug THC.
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