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Co Armagh student who imported MDMA from Netherlands hit with community service

The judge said said the 24-year-old, who had a completely clear record, 'deserves some credit for his guilty pleas, although he was effectively caught red handed'

A Co Armagh student who imported MDMA worth up to almost £1,200 from the Netherlands has been handed 120 hours of community service.

Auryn Cox, from Coolkill Road in Tynan, was sentenced for importing and possession of a Class A drug at Craigavon Crown Court, sitting in Newry, on Monday .

The 24-year-old’s crime was discovered on March 14, 2020 when UK Border Force seized a parcel arriving from the Netherlands.

It was addressed to the defendant personally with his name and home address.

However, it wasn’t until four months later, when Cox decided to collect the parcel – on August 20, 2020 – that police searched his address where a further package of 11 tablets of suspected Class A were seized from his bedroom, along with a phone.

A forensic analysis of the two packets of drugs confirmed the contents to be MDMA, more commonly known as Ecstasy.

A forensic examination of the phone revealed outgoing messages to ‘Davin’s phone’ where Cox asks about the expectant parcel from the Netherlands.

The total value of the tablets seized were between £587 and £1,175.

Cox was interviewed and he immediately admitted ownership of the drugs but initially denied the more serious charge of importing. He eventually acceded to that particular charge.

His Honour Judge Ramsey KC said the 24-year-old, who had a completely clear record, “deserves some credit for his guilty pleas, although he was effectively caught red handed”.

Defence submissions outlined the long delay in the case and that this was not down to Cox.

Judge Ramsey, in reading the defence submissions, added: “You indicate that he has a very supportive family who were distressed by his appearance in court, and that he comes from a very good background.

“[Cox] left college, went on to commence a job, and the job has been lost because of this offence.”

He added: “He was a student at the time and there’s an element of showing off in it; there’s proper remorse and regret, and he is also very conscious of the pain he’s caused to his family by his involvement in this matter.”

“You also indicate the delay and the positive changes in his life, his youth at the time, and the fact that he hasn’t subsequently offended, as well as his loss of employment. You feel that the appropriate manner….is community service.”

Judge Ramsey contended: “I think the most important point is that the prosecution accept they cannot challenge the fact that [the drugs] may well have been for his sole use.”

In handing down a total of 120 hours community service for both offences, Judge Ramsey, said: “Mr Cox, I’ve no doubt whatsoever that you have learned a very, very important lesson from all of this, and this has caused considerable pain to you and to your family. You also have had this hanging over your head for a period of four years.”

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