Three men stood in courtroom in Polynesia for trafficking methamphetamine. Although Polynesian authorities had only caught the defendants the week before the court appearance, the court had already prepared to sentence all three of them. The court sentenced the trio to sentences that fit their roles in the short-lived drug trafficking operation. One received a four year sentence. One received a three year sentence. And one received a sentence of only one year.
Investigators found that one man, a 29-year-old “computer genius” named Tevai Tapu, had engineered the entire drug trafficking conspiracy. The court heard how Tapu had made several methamphetamine purchases on Dream marketplace. Using Bitcoin, Tapu made six separate purchases of 35 grams of methamphetamine. “It’s like Amazon, except that you sell kalashnikovs and bags of cocaine,” the court heard.
Tapu used a fake name when he ordered the methamphetamine. DHL still delivered the packages, he said. John Tariu, a long-time friend of Tapu handled the local resale of the drug. Tariu managed to sell several grams of methamphetamine every day, including on the first day he had methamphetamine to sell. According to the court, Tapu bought Tairu’s loyalty through both supporting his financial needs outside of their operation and by generously paying him for his participation in the drug distribution “network” they established.
There was a third man, the prosecution revealed. The third man played such an insignificant role in the operation that the prosecution opted out of publicizing his name. He lucked out, in a way. One might see it the other way, too. If the third defendant had started driving for his accomplices any sooner, the investigators would have charged him with the same crimes they charged the two original suspects with. If he had waited even a single day before starting his task as a delivery driver, the investigators would never have known of his potential involvement and participation. The court heard that the third man had only driven to collect payments from drug buyers who owed money to Tapu and Tairu. And his job started the very day that authorities moved in and made arrests.
During the trial, the court heard that Tapu had ordered six packages of methamphetamine from a darknet dealer on the Dream marketplace, but only five of those packages ever landed in Polynesia. Customs in New Zealand intercepted one of the packages. And as always, once the package leaves the vendor’s hand, the vendor’s worries are over. The buyer faces the majority of the threat after the vendor ships the package. Even using a fake name, buyers are far from safe—somewhere out there, a package is passing through postal stations with the buyer’s address on it.
A package seizure might concern a buyer initially, but a quick look at many of the darknet drug market forums reveals that buyers pick up where they left off. Maybe they burn the drop – maybe not. Tapu did not. He purchased methamphetamine and after the New Zealand incident, Polynesian authorities arrested him. In court, the primary suspect said, “I’m sorry, I wanted to make money to renovate a bungalow, I had an AirBnB project. This traffic was not a passion but a lack of money.” Regardless of the intent, the prosecution asked to make an example out of the dealer.
And the prosecutor got his request: Tapu received a four year prison sentence with two years suspended; Tariu received a three year sentence with one and a half years suspended; and the driver received only one year. Tapu and Tairu also owe the state the money they earned from the drug trafficking adventure that lasted only a moment.