New Zealand Citizen Dodges Jail Sentence for Drug Dealing Through Bitcoin
A 20- year old man from New Zealand was released from the jail as his lawyer convinced the court to spare him due to his young age. Court system in New Zealand believes that bitcoin usage is a clear indicator for criminal sophistication but young age helped this man escape a sentence.
In April, Elias Valentin Smith of North Shore, Auckland, was charged of conducting fourteen drug dealings and was sentenced for two years and three months in jail by the Auckland District Court. After a repetitive request from his lawyer, the court admitted that jail time was too harsh for the young boy. His serving sentence has now been trimmed to eleven months of a house arrest.
Even after shortening the punishment the Auckland High Court did not acknowledge the idea that Smith was not old enough to realize the seriousness of his actions. The judges still believe that a person dealing with the illegal use of bitcoin should possess enough maturity level to conduct the action. One of the judges questioned, “Would a young gang prospect on the East Coast of the North Island, who is looking at prison time for methamphetamine, accept that someone who was purposing drugs on the darknet and paying in bitcoin was not worldly wise and naïve?” Another judge said, “Covert use of new technologies to break the law has its own level of sophistication.”
Although the culprit was skilled in the use of the darknet yet, he did not have the experience to tackle police authorities. Investigators of the dealings were assisted by the New Zealand customs service as it found many packages from abroad that contained drugs and the name of the teen and his friend. The high school senior entered the business of drug dealings in October 2015.
Under the Operation Tiger, the police arrested Smith in November 2016 from his room in his parents’ house. The investigators were able to discover a scale and a small amount of drug, methamphetamine and lysergic acid, from the teen’s room. According to regulators, his phone currently ceased, contained text communications with supposed drug buyers to whom he described his products and offered a discount on bulk purchase. The police also recovered various documents that affirmed Smith’s investment in bitcoin.
In the hearing, Judge told Smith, “It is clear that your involvement was significantly more serious than his, in fact, I regard it as an aggravating factor that you enlisted him in this criminal enterprise.”
Smith has already become a known name in local media, and his actions will have a great impact on his upcoming life. Use of bitcoin has become more and more prevalent in illegal activities due to its immense popularity in mainstream media. The platform serves as the ideal stage for small-time criminals who never indulged in illegal activities earlier. It just the start and in future, we would probably come across such incidents on a daily basis. As technology has progressed our regulation policies have not been able to catch up to the race, but it is still right to say that it never will.