In­ter­na­tional drug sting snags Taranaki grower

Taranaki Daily News - - News - DEENA COSTER

A man who or­dered cannabis seeds on­line was caught out as part of an in­ter­na­tional op­er­a­tion to tar­get the im­por­ta­tion of con­trolled drugs.

Be­tween April and Au­gust 2017, Jason Bos­son or­dered a to­tal of 1821 cannabis seeds from the AliEx­press web­site, which is a ser­vice owned by the Chi­nese-owned on­line re­tail gi­ant Alibaba.

Bos­son’s of­fend­ing was picked up in an op­er­a­tion run by Cus­toms New Zealand at the Auck­land In­ter­na­tional Mail Cen­tre, which fo­cussed on the im­por­ta­tion of con­trolled drugs into the coun­try.

A to­tal of seven or­ders were placed by the 25-year-old, and on the out­side of each par­cel was a de­scrip­tion of ei­ther toys or jew­ellery. The parcels were in­ter­cepted by Cus­toms of­fi­cials when they ar­rived in the coun­try.

A sub­se­quent search war­rant was ex­e­cuted at the de­fen­dant’s home on Waihi Rd, Hâw­era on Oc­to­ber 26.

Two ar­eas in an out­side shed on the prop­erty were found to be used for grow­ing cannabis. Hy­dro­ponic equip­ment was found along with heat lamps, which were used to ger­mi­nate the seeds.

A to­tal of 52 cannabis plants were seized dur­ing the search.

At Tues­day’s ap­pear­ance in the Hâw­era Dis­trict Court, Bos­son pleaded guilty to charges of im­port­ing cannabis seeds and cul­ti­vat­ing the class C drug.

Lawyer Ju­lian Han­nam said the plants be­ing grown by Bos­son were pro­duced for the de­fen­dant’s ‘‘high use’’ of the drug.

Sergeant Craig Jones said the de­fen­dant’s on­go­ing drug of­fend­ing and pre­vi­ous con­vic­tion for cul­ti­va­tion were a con­cern.

He asked for a pre-sen­tence re­port to be com­pleted on Bos­son to see if any­thing could be done by way of in­ter­ven­tion to pre­vent fur­ther of­fend­ing.

Judge Chris Sy­grove con­victed Bos­son on the im­por­ta­tion charge and fined him $500, plus court costs.

On the cul­ti­va­tion charge, the de­fen­dant was con­victed and re­manded for sen­tenc­ing on De­cem­ber 6.

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