Customers paid with Bitcoin as man was ‘street dealing’ prescription drugs online


Customers paid for prescription drugs by cryptocurrency Bitcoin after one found the seller on a “dark web” website, a court heard.

Police traced two recent buyers who were mailed by defendant Stephen Henry-Palmer by recorded delivery.

One said he found Henry-Palmer’s e-mail address and name on a forum.

Over the years this man bought, on a number of occasions, 100 Diazepam at a time – a drug which can be used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms and fits.

He paid by Bitcoin, said Jon Fountain, prosecuting at Nottingham Crown Court.

The second person paid with the same currency for 100 Diazepam at a time after he located the defendant on a “dark web website”.

The probe began after police went to the defendant’s home address in Retford and recovered “a considerable quantity of Class C drugs”, explained Mr Fountain.

“Many thousands of drugs he has pleaded guilty to; the past supply of 12,300 Zanex (Alprazolam) and 9,000 tablets of Diazepam”.

Zanex is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders.

Henry-Palmer, 30, of Broad Gores North, Clarborough, Retford, was interviewed by police and claimed he was buying them for his own use.

But their inquiries led them to discover he was receiving prescribed medication but not Zanex or Diazepam.

They found receipts, images of receipts, packages and e-mails consistent with him being involved in supplying both drugs.

Mr Fountain told the court: “The Crown suggests a degree of sophistication exercised by this defendant; anonymity provided but entirely undone by his own record-keeping. A significant role, street dealing over the internet of Class C drugs”.

He said 21,300 tablets were recovered and it was plain the defendant was sourcing them in this country and later importing from France and India.

No Bitcoin has yet been traced. A website – an online darknet market – has since closed down.

A proceeds of crime application has been postponed for mention at court on March 30.

Henry-Palmer, who has no relevant previous convictions, pleaded guilty to supplying Diazepam and Zanex, and possessing with intent to supply Diazepam and Zanex.

Judge James Sampson gave him a ten-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after he said it was clear he had “profound medical issues both physical and mental”.

But he stressed “that didn’t deter you in engaging in sophisticated dealing in Class C drugs”.

“What is particularly serious about this is you were effectively dispensing drugs – which are ordinarily controlled and available on a prescription by a doctor,” he said.

“What saves you today is your medical position and your genuine ill health. It will not save you again”.

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