Teenager Sentenced to Community Service for Ecstasy Importation
A teenage drug dealer who admitted leading a drug trafficking organization in the Bailiwick of Jersey was sentenced to almost 400 hours of community service for drug trafficking and drug possession. The sentence was considered unusual by some reporters as the prosecution requested several years of imprisonment and some of the jurors agreed with the requested prison sentences.
Officers of Jersey State Police were called to the Mayfair Hotel earlier this year after hotel staff became suspicious of a package someone had sent to the hotel. Hotel staff told police that the package had been shipped to someone named Pierce Walters. The person known to the hotel staff as Walters had attempted to convince the hotel staff to receive and hold the package in preparation for a meeting that Walter had allegedly scheduled with business partners. Walters, as the police quickly learned, was actually an 18 year old named Joel Lewis.
The hotel had not been informed of the delivery of two packages that someone in the Netherlands had shipped to someone who had not been staying at the hotel. Lewis, posing as the fictional entity “Pierce Walters,” called the hotel after his package had arrived and asked them to hold on to it until he could pick it up several hours after it had been delivered. The entire situation likely caused confusion but it is unclear what specifically pushed hotel staff to call the police. Unexpected packages often pose a threat to public figures and government offices. The hotel may have feared the package contained an explosive or chemical weapon. Or, more realistically, the hotel staff opened the package and discovered 304 ecstasy pills.
Crown Advocate Conrad Yates, in court, only revealed that the police had inspected the packages after receiving the call from the hotel. But the hotel examining the package and the police examining the package are not mutually exclusive. The court heard that after the police arrived, they examined the package and then left. Lewis, later that day, arrived at the hotel. He attempted to book a room under the “Pierce Walters” alias. The prosecution did not reveal whether or not Lewis successfully booked a room. They only vaguely covered Lewis’ time at the hotel where he had attempted to retrieve the package he had ordered. It is not clear if Lewis succeeded in obtaining the package.
The police, after Lewis has left the hotel, returned to continue their investigation. According to Crown Advocate Conrad Yates, the hotel provided the police with the recordings from their security cameras that would have captured “Walters” as he entered the hotel, conversed with hotel employees, and attempted to book a room. The police, in a matter of hours, identified the suspect as an 18 year old high school student not far from the hotel. The police then arrested him at the school he attended.
Lewis, when questioned, answered all of the questions the police presented. He then gave the police far more information than requested. In court, his defense pointed out that Lewis had given the police so much information that he had “written his own indictment.” Lewis told police he had ordered the ecstasy pills on the darkweb and that he had been ordering MDMA and ecstasy pills to sell locally for a significant part of the year. He said that he had recently travelled to France to pick up 50 grams of MDMA at a hotel and that he had arranged similar deals with other hotels nearby.
He told the police that he had just handed 50 grams of MDMA “over to his associates” who did all of his so-called “dirty work.” According to Lewis’ statement to the police, his “associates” sold the drugs so that he would not have to “touch” them. Ordering the packages and picking them up at various hotels, of course, was nothing considered “touching” the drugs or “dirty work.” Crown Advocate Conrad Yates asked Deputy Bailiff Tim Le Cocq for a prison sentence of two years.
Lewis pleaded guilty to one count of importing a controlled substance and three counts of possession. Crown Advocate Conrad Yates explained that the usual sentence for the crimes Lewis committed was nine years. He added that “Lewis freely admitted to importing drugs to make a substantial profit.” Advocate Sarah Dale countered that Lewis was still young and that he should be allowed to pursue a career in the army. Deputy Bailiff Tim Le Cocq countered with a sentence of 384 hours of community service.