In April 2013, a 19-year-old New Zealand student spent two nights in jail after a raid for drug distribution. He ordered various drugs online and resold them in person. He spent time in prison but paroled out in February 2016. He recently caught a new charge—an event that resulted in a trip back to prison.
Officers arrested Benjamin Patrick Belmont at age 19 for importing and distributing drugs the he bought from the Silk Road. He ordered ecstasy, MDMA, LSD, and cocaine between November 2012 and April 2013. Customs Officers intercepted 993 micrograms of crystal MDMA, five tabs of LSD, and 6.1 grams of cocaine. They also intercepted 1,266 ecstasy pills.
After the investigation into the student reached a point where an arrest was possible, officers raided his flat. Belmont had a 12-gauge Remington shotgun, ammunition, more drugs, and $80,000 cash. Investigators found that he made 80 bank deposits for a total of $123,000 when he sold drugs. He also converted $113,000 into Bitcoin.
He spent two nights in jail before he got out on bail. The conditions of the release were that he must live with his parents; abide by a 7pm curfew; only possess prescribed medication; and refrain from internet and cellphone use. While free, he violated the conditions of his bail by accessing the internet. Officers also found $39,000 in his bedroom. Belmont claimed the money came from old drug debts, not a new list of darknet markets.
The bail violation was his second arrest. A judge eventually sentenced the man to four years and 10 months for 11 charges. Class A and B drug possession and possession with intent charges, along with a firearm charge.
During a parole hearing in February 2016, a parole board called his situation “unusual.” The February hearing was Belmont’s third appearance before the parole board. They wrote the following in support of their decision in favor of early release:
“He has got strong support. [Redacted] are at the parole hearing. [Redacted] has offered him an address in [redacted] where he can live with him under strict oversight. [Redacted] support him. There are some issues around [redacted] that need to be addressed and living [redacted] is not an option.”
“So we believe he does not present an undue risk to the safety of the community. As mentioned, this is his first offending. He seems to have learnt a significant lesson from embarking on this behaviour and will not do it again in the future.”
In early June 2017, Belmont pleaded guilty to assault with intent to injure. He strangled his partner four times, although the charge only referenced one. According to courtroom reporters, he admitted that he strangled her four times. Nobody reported the previous incidents. The defendant, now 23-years-old, sat in jail on an interim hold. Officials needed the parole board to make a decision on the man future.
The board made their decision in late June; they recalled the former-dealer. Belmont not only committed a violent crime, but he lived with his partner—a violation of his parole. He additionally drank alcohol, another violation. The man will ride out the remainder of his distribution charge at a minimum. Assault with intent to injure carries a three year maximum sentence.
His sentencing for the assault charge was scheduled for July. The parole board will see him in October, as well.