A County Antrim toy firm owner who was behind the largest seizure in Northern Ireland of the banned ‘4-MEC’ drug has been given a five-year sentence.Kristopher Darren Scott, 33, from Frosses Road, Dunloy, admitted a charge of importing the Class B drug Methylmethcathinone, similar to Mephedrone, on 27 November, 2013.
The court heard the drugs were smuggled from China.
They were hidden in a batch of “robotic fish” destined for Scott’s firm.
Scott, a father-of-two, was told he will serve half the sentence in prison, with the remainder spent on licence upon his release.
A total of 24kgs of the drugs were found wrapped in silver packaging – making it the biggest Northern Ireland haul of the illegal substance to date.
Scott was told by the judge that it was a “sophisticated, carefully planned criminal operation” in which he “played a leading role”.
“These are very dangerous drugs that have caused serious harm, particularly to young people,” the judge added.
Earlier this week, Belfast Crown Court heard how Scott stood to gain between £96,000 and more than £240,000 from the drugs.
A prosecution lawyer said that after the drugs were seized, Scott was arrested and denied knowing anything about them. They were in containers of so-called “robotic fish”.
Scott also initially claimed these “robotic fish” were never part of his order for children’s “ride-on-cars”.
However, the court heard that drugs, from a Chinese biotech company, were paid for through nine international money transfers paid over two days in September 2013.
The lawyer said that according to a drug trafficking experts from the National Crime Agency, the maximum retail street value would have been more than £700,000 – but it was agreed that Scott stood to make “somewhere between £96,000 and £240,000”, given that he would be selling the drugs on to other dealers.
The lawyer said it was the prosecution case that Scott was the prime mover and instigator for the large scale importation of the drugs, which he knew was made a controlled substance in 2010.
A defence lawyer claimed that Scott’s involvement was “an isolated incident” and revealed the businessman was “ashamed and disgraced at his own behaviour and greed”.
He also told the court his client had shown “genuine and sincere remorse” for his wrongdoing and the effect it would have on his wife and two young children.
The judge said she accepted Scott was ashamed of his actions.