Importer of fantasy jailed
09 APRIL 2005
A Wellington man involved in importing fantasy with a street value of up to $2 million has been jailed for four years.
Robert John Stark, 35, unemployed, of Wadestown, was sentenced in the High Court yesterday after pleading guilty to 13 charges of importing GBL, also known as fantasy or rinse, possession of the drug and conspiring to import and supply the drug.
Justice Wild said Stark was involved with two others, whose names were suppressed because they were yet to come to trial. It is understood Stark will give evidence for the prosecution.
According to the police there were more than 100 importations of the drug from Romania between October 2003 and December last year. Most of it came in packages disguised as bottles of wine or tins of vegetables.
The drugs were imported using an international courier company. Stark arranged fictional names and addresses for each consignment, used a computer to track their movement and picked up the packages when they arrived.
Justice Wild said fantasy was a damaging and dangerous drug. Stark's involvement was as a middleman in a major operation and after becoming addicted he was paid with fantasy. Stark had confessed, cooperated with the police and pleaded guilty, and because of this he had discounted the sentence from a starting point of eight years' imprisonment by 50 per cent.
Defence lawyer Paul Surridge said Stark's involvement in the crime was limited. He was heavily involved in bodybuilding and his reliance on the sport was an addiction. His use of steroids led to using GBL.
However, Crown lawyer Melinka Berridge said he had played an integral role in a sophisticated operation. Over 14 months, 165 litres of fantasy had been imported and 47.7 litres were intercepted. There was a need for deterrence in one of the most serious cases of its kind.