Jailed after 22,000 pills sent by post

Ronald Johnson
Ronald Johnson
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A Blackpool man who tried to obtain 22,000 diazepam tablets, via the internet, has been jailed.

Preston Crown Court heard how a parcel of the drugs from Pakistan and headed for Ronald Johnson’s address was intercepted in Coventry.

Police then substituted the tablets with other material before the package was allowed to continue its journey.

A search warrant went on to be executed at Johnson’s address on Easington Crescent, Grange Park, where a separate batch of 5,000 diazepam tablets were recovered.

The 36-year-old was jailed for 35 weeks. He had pleaded guilty to offences of possessing diazepam with intent to supply and also attempting to possess the drug, with intent to supply.

The court heard Johnson was heavily addicted to diazepam at the time last year.

He maintained he had bought tablets over the internet, not knowing they would be coming from abroad.

Fraser Livesey, prosecuting, said that on April 19 last year, an international Parcel Force package was intercepted at Coventry, on route from Pakistan, to the defendant’s address.

When examined, it was found to contain 22,000 diazepam tablets. They were removed and substituted with other material.

Before that parcel was delivered, a man was seen to take a parcel to that address. A search warrant was executed there and Johnson was found to have 5,020 diazepam tablets.

The overall amount of drugs he tried to or managed to obtain was 27,299.

A possible street value, if the tablets had been sold at 50p each, was £13,500.

In police interview, Johnson spoke of having had a nervous breakdown and memory loss.

His memory had come back and he was ordering painkillers over the internet, he said. He denied to police that he was involved with commercial supplying.

In his basis of plea, he said he had ordered the tablets through a website he believed was in the UK.

He admitted that he would have supplied to friends. At the time he was highly addicted to diazepam and taking large quantities of the tablets on a daily basis.

Nigel Beeson, defending, said the tablets were to be paid for through a moneygram or Western Union, rather than something like a credit card or Paypal.

“They were purchased primarily because he is a drug user and abuser and has been for a long time. When the doctor stopped prescribing it, he turned to getting it for himself.

“When he found that it could be bought cheaply he decided to bulk buy”.

Since the offences, he had managed to remain drug free and had not come to the attention of the authorities in terms of any drug use whatsoever.

Diazepam – first marketed as Valium – is commonly used for treating anxiety, insomnia and seizures. Adverse effects include amnesia as well as paradoxical effects such as excitement, rage or worsening of seizures in epileptics.

Mr Beeson asked the judge to consider passing a suspended sentence.

Judge Norman Wright told Johnson before sending him to jail “You have got to realise that these drugs are prohibited.

“It is often asserted that people became addicted to drugs and it can be a ladder of progression where people get into more serious drug taking.

“You were acting, in part, as a commercial dealer in this Class C drug. I don’t feel I would be justified, in the public interest, in suspending the sentence.”