A self-confessed drugs dealer who set up several bank accounts to run his drugs-supplying operation was today jailed for three years and three months at Derry Crown Court.
Christopher Terence Langmead, 27, from Rainey Court in Magherafelt, deposited £166,143 into one of his accounts to run what Judge Philip Babington described as 'a cannabis operation of quite some size for one person'.
Langmead, who had two previous convictions for drugs, bought cannabis from his supplier in England.
He pleaded guilty to committing five drugs offences, all of them involving cannabis, and guilty to committing three money laundering offences, between September 2017 and February of last year.
He was caught when two packages addressed to him were seized by the police at the Mallusk Royal Mail Depot in Belfast on January 28, 2019.
The packages were found to contain eight-three grams of cannabis.
His home was then searched and there the police found 222.96 grams of cannabis.
Eight days later police officers stopped Langmead in Garden Street, Magherafelt.
He smelt strongly of cannabis and when he was searched the police found £9,000 in cash in his backpack. He told the police he was on his way to the Post Office to change the Sterling into U.S. Dollars.
Langmead was arrested and while in custody the police again searched his home.
There they found just over one kilo of cannabis, £570 inside a washing machine and a grinder with cannabis residue on it.
An investigation was then carried out into Langmead's financial affairs and it showed he was operating accounts at Lloyds Bank, Monzo Bank, the Halifax, the Nationwide and Coinbase U.K. Limited, which was a bit coin account.
Bank records indicated that between September 2017 and February 2019 Langmead deposited a total of £166,143 into his Lloyds account.
There was also evidence of money transfers from his Lloyds account to the other accounts held by him.
During his police interviews, Langmead told the officers that the cash seized from him had been money he'd been paid as stud fees for his dogs.
Judge Babington said that Langmead, who started taking cannabis at the age of twelve, had a fifteen year long involvement with cannabis, culminating in him buying and selling the drug to finance his own habit.
He said Langmead told the author of a pre-sentence report that he now accepted the financial benefit accruing from him selling drugs "was not worth the risk that he took as he has now lost his liberty.
"One of the most worrying aspects of his offending was his acknowledgement that he was not thinking about the impact his actions in selling drugs would have on those to whom he was selling. He tells the author that he thought smoking cannabis was a victimless crime. It is clear that whilst engaged in this activity he cared not a jot for those to whom he was selling or the effects on society generally", Judge Babington said.
Judge Babington said the offending by Langmead, who has been assessed as posing a high likelihood of re-offending, was aggravated by the fact that it was blatantly for commercial gain and went on for seventeen months.
"The money laundering counts show that between September 2017 and February 2019 he paid into his Lloyds bank account over £166,000, which were the proceeds of sales relating to his drug dealing, much of which was being later paid to his supplier in England. It is also clear that there was no little sophistication being used as one of the accounts, that with Coinbase UK Limited, was in fact a bit coin account.
"Evidence was discovered showing that he had purchased £36,593 worth of bitcoin between August 2018 and February 2019. The defendant said that this was set up because his supplier wanted that, but that is no excuse. He willingly entered into that arrangement and by setting up this account showed he knew what he was doing", Judge Babington said.
As well as jailing Langmead for three years and three months, Judge Babington also issued a destruction order in respect of the drugs, paraphernalia and of Langmead's seized mobile 'phone.
He further ordered that £570 found in the washing machine in Langmead's washing machine when he home was searched by the police should be paid to Foyle Search and Rescue.
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