New Zealand Customs intercepted a package of almost 400 grams of MDMA in October 27. The buyer—who described himself as a drug dealer—just received a four-year prison sentence at the Dunedin District Court for importing a Class B drug.
Levi Jordan Wells Bertanees, 24, worked as a chef in Dunedin while buying MDMA from the darknet and reselling it to local connections. In total, according to government math, Bertanees imported more than $150,000 worth of MDMA. The police appraised the MDMA at $400 per gram. Bertanees told arresting officer, however, that he sold the product for only $200 per gram.
Bertanees talked to the police not long after they had clicked the handcuffs on his wrists. He told police they had conducted a successful investigation by admitting he had been selling MDMA (and possibly other drugs as well). “It’s not free to raise these kids,” Bertanees told the police after they placed him under arrest for importing a Class B drug (MDMA) into New Zealand. The dealer may have placed orders that arrived without incident, but the package that ended his career as a drug-dealing chef hit New Zealand borders on October 24, 2017.
The former dealer had ordered 392 grams of MDMA from an unknown darknet vendor in the United Kingdom. The vendor had shipped the package to the name and address provided by the Dunedin 24-year-old. The man had given the darknet vendor the correct address but a fictional name—something many darknet market veterans strongly discourage. (The name may not have led to the package seizure; getting packages of drugs through New Zealand Customs is notoriously more difficult than getting packages into countries such as the United States or Canada.
The name “L Hunter” printed on the package failed to fool investigators. On November 1, 2017, Customs performed an undercover controlled delivery of the package. After giving Bertanees ample time to open the package, the police moved in and raided his house.
They found Bertanees in the middle of a room in his house with the open package of MDMA next to another container of capsules. He had scales and other drug paraphernalia, the police said. When the police entered his house, they said Bertanees had been capping the MDMA (powder/crystals) and preparing the capsules for distribution. He admitted—as if an alternative explanation for the scene existed—that he distributed MDMA.
During sentencing, Judge Michael Turner noted that Bertanees fully complied with law enforcement and generally made their investigation more simple. The judge also acknowledged that Bertanees had changed since his arrest. The man had accepted his wrongdoings even though he did them in an effort to provide for his family.