Carrick ‘patsy’ escapes jail term

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A Carrick man who was a ‘patsy’ in a ‘Dark Web’ drugs operation has been given 240 hours’ community service at Belfast Crown Court.

Stephen Rodgers (29), of Glynn Park Close, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of Class A, Class B and Class C drug and converting criminal property.

However, co-accused Richard Charles Patrick Sinclair (34), of Cranagh Road, Coleraine and Kyle James Hall (26) were handed sentences totalling 12 and a half years for running a lucrative and “evil trade’’ in drugs.

Sinclair used a bedroom in his grandmother’s house to buy drugs over the internet from Holland using the online currency ‘bitcoins’ and then distributed them to customers inside DVD cases.

Sinclair was given a seven year jail term after pleading guilty to possesing Class A drugs with intent to supply, importing a Class A drug, being concerned in the supply of Class A, Class B and Class C drugs, and converting criminal property.

Hall was jailed for five years after pleading guilty to possessing Class A, Class B and Class C drugs with intent to supply, attempted supply of Class A drugs and possessing criminal property.

The court heard that he used his home in Belfast to run his own similar online drugs distribution network.

Passing sentence at Belfast Crown Court, Judge Geoffrey Miller QC told Rodgers: “Be under no illusion that community service order is a soft option. If you breach this order, a direct alternative of immediate custody will be imposed.”

Rodgers admitted allowing Hall to use his bank account through which large sums of money had been deposited.

The prosecution said Rodgers’ involvement was “limited to allowing his address to be used for the delivery of drugs at the request of Hall and allowing his bank account to be used to deposit money.