A man who tried to smuggle monkey dust – a synthetic drug which gives people hallucinations – through Coventry Airport has been jailed.
Police intercepted packages containing the Class B drug at the airport after Michael McGraw bought it online and had it imported from abroad.
More of the substance was seized when cops searched the 48-year-old’s Longton home.
Now McGraw has been jailed for 27 months at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.
Prosecutor Paul Spratt said the defendant was involved in the importation and supply of monkey dust between June 1, 2018 and April 17.
Mr Spratt said: “Monkey dust is a chemically manufactured drug which has significant effects on users.
“It gives people hallucinations, paranoia, and a loss of pain making them feel extremely strong. It can bring chaotic behaviour, psychosis and feelings of euphoria.
“He accepts he imported the drug and also engaged in its supply.”
He said packages were delivered to McGraw’s address on four occasions before the police became directly involved – on November 24 and 28 and December 5 and 8.
Drugs bought on dark web
Mr Spratt said a package addressed to McGraw was intercepted at Coventry Airport Freight Hub on December 13 and was found to contain 125 grams of monkey dust, which had a street value of £5,000.
Mr Spratt said: “Police searched the defendant’s address on December 21 and found two smaller quantities of monkey dust – 404 milligrams and 5.7 grams. They found digital scales and small plastic bags.
“A further interception took place at Coventry Freight Hub on January 6 when more monkey dust was found in two packages, 49.2 grams and 1.07 grams.
“An examination of his phone showed he bought the monkey dust on the ‘dark web’ and he made inquiries as to where his delivery was.
“A police expert picked out 29 separate individuals who asked the defendant for the drug.”
What is monkey dust?
According to Frank, a national anti-drug propaganda service jointly established by the Department of Health and Home Office of the British government in 2003, monkey dust is a cathinone.
They were originally sold over the internet as ‘legal’ alternative to drugs like speed, ecstasy and cocaine. To avoid trouble with the police, sellers marked the cathinones they were selling as not for human consumption, and sold them as plant food or bath salts.
Cathinones are usually snorted like cocaine or wrapped in paper and swallowed (‘bombed’). They can also be found as capsules and pills and can be smoked.
- They risk over-stimulating the heart and circulation and damaging the heart.
- They risk over-stimulating the nervous system and causing fits.
- Many cathinones are still new and little is known about them, so the risks from using them are unpredictable.
- They can make you anxious and paranoid.
- They can reduced inhibitions, which can lead to risky behaviours such as unsafe sex, and accidents
Monkey dust is a Class B drug which means it’s illegal to have yourself, give away or sell.
Possession can get you up to five years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both.
Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both.
Thousands made from crime
Mr Spratt said the defendant made £14,850 from his criminality.
McGraw, of Rochester Road, Longton, pleaded guilty to fraudulent evasion of a prohibition by importing a class B drug between June 1, 2018 and April 17 this year; supplying a class B drug; and acquiring criminal property between July 1, 2017 and December 21, 2018.
Daniel Lister, mitigating, said the defendant has no previous convictions for importing or supplying drugs.
Mr Lister said: “He was a man who became a user of monkey dust. He imported it and sold it to friends. He ended up supplying 29 people. But it is not fair to say this was on a commercial scale.
“He knew he would receive money for it and would have to accept he was acquiring criminal property when he sold it.”
Judge David Fletcher said: “The catalyst for this behaviour was your own spiralling use of monkey dust.
“You are aware of the effect of this particular substance on people who take it and the wider community.”
A Proceeds of Crime hearing will be held later this year.
McGraw’s co-accused, Sye Robinson, of Burt Street, Meir, was fined £75 after he admitted possessing cannabis.
The Crown Prosecution Service decided not to proceed against the 26-year-old in relation to a charge of acquiring criminal property.
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