An IT worker from Tyning Crescent, Slimbridge, managed to dodge a mail sentence for buying 140 grams of marijuana from a darknet vendor. It was not his first order of this weight. And it was not for personal use, as law enforcement discovered and the prosecution explained. Despite the evidence the defendant faced, he received a sentence that required nothing but 100 hours of community service.
Luke Goscombe, a 22-year-old IT worker from Slimbridge, admitted to the importation of marijuana and to being concerned with supplying marijuana. The case prosecutor, Prosecutor Caighli Taylor, explained that the charges stemmed from an event in 2016. The UK Border Agency, on August 25, seized a package of marijuana that bore the Goscombe family name and address. The package contained 140 grams of the plant—with roughly $1,500 according to the prosecutor.
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August’s package interception disrupted very little; nothing noticeable happened. It wasn’t until a second package was seized that the case really moved along. On September 19, another package of roughly the same weight came through the mail system and into the UK Border Agency’s hands. The interception of both packages triggered a raid on Goscombe’s house.
Police raided the defendant’s home on November 10, 2016. They found a measly six grams of marijuana, one plant, plastic bags, and electronic scales. Investigators examined his phone and the results of that examination surfaced in the courtroom. Prosecutor Caighli Taylor said, in support of the distribution element, “texts indicated he was supplying cannabis to others.”
Goscombe, prior to the courtroom appearance, had responded to a statement regarding the cannabis charges. The statement denied all distribution whatsoever. He said that he was a casual user of cannabis—nothing more. He declined to comment on the topic of the intercepted packages.
Examination of the phone, according to the prosecutor, revealed that Goscombe had ordered the cannabis from the darknet. She said that the defendant had sent texts regarding Customs “cracking down’ on [missing] packages.” Taylor said that the defendant had also arranged—over text message—cannabis deals with an identified party named George. On some occasions, the defendant had sold four ounces per transaction.
Goscombe’s defense, David Mitchell, explained that the defendant had used cannabis regularly. He had, however, acknowledged that it had become a problem in his life, Mitchell explained. His activities on the darknet were “to get cannabis for himself at a much reduced cost.”
“He now acknowledges that flouting the law in this way is not acceptable.”
Judge Michael Harington received “glowing references” from Goscombe’s employer. The employer revealed that Goscombe still had a job with the company should the judge allow him to remain a free man. Judge Michael Harington said that he had taken this into account when he handed down the 18 month suspended sentence with 100 hours of unpaid labor.
“But you must understand that this sort of offending is extremely serious and will more often than not attract an immediate custodial sentence,” Judge Harington said.