Man who ran online drug shop jailed for nearly four years
A MAN who ran what a judge called "almost a one-stop shop" for drugs has been jailed for nearly four years.
Bryan Hobbs, who sold large amounts of former "legal highs" through his website, was sentenced at Plymouth Crown Court to 45 months behind bars.
Hobbs operated a mail-order business posting synthesised Class B and Class C drugs around the country.
He told the court that he thought the drugs were still legal when his city centre flat was raided by police in May of last year. Police found drugs of all types with a street value of about £19,000.
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Hobbs, 25, now living in Keyes Close, Devonport, also insisted he acted as a go-between to people who contacted him wanting cocaine.
But judge Barry Cotter ruled he sold the Class A drug directly to users.
He said: "You ran a retailing organisation, supplying in the main Class B drugs.
"It was almost a one-stop shop in that you were willing to supply a range of drugs including Class A."
The judge said Hobbs knew that the cathinone-type drugs he was selling had been made illegal before his house was raided.
Hobbs had earlier admitted possession of four amounts of drugs with intent to supply: 26.76g of cocaine; 411.84g of the Class C drug NRG2; 108.96g of BZP (Class C) and 17.78g of MDPBP (Class C).
Hobbs also admitted possession of 50g of mephedrone (Class B) and possession of 9.96g of MDPV (Class C).
He finally admitted possession of an offensive weapon, a knuckle-duster.
Nick Lewin, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said police stopped Hobbs in a car and then searched his luxury flat in the Zero 4 development, a stone's throw from the Crown Court.
He said: "Police found drugs of Class A, B and C, with an estimated street value of £19,000. They found an extremely well-established commercial operation dealing mainly in Class B drugs, but also cocaine."
Mr Lewin said Hobbs had run a website selling the former chemically-synthesisied "legal highs".
He added he would deliver drugs locally, but also post them, often using registered mail, to other parts of the country.
Jason Beal, for Hobbs, said he had enjoyed a good job and had "partied hard" using drugs.
He added that partly as a result of his drug use he had lost his job and had turned to dealing drugs to sustain his lifestyle.
Mr Beal said that since he was arrested, he had turned his back on that way of life, had gained a more modest job and was living back with his parents.
Plymouth's drug liaison officer, DC Stuart Payne, said outside court that it was one of the largest seizures of Class B chemically-synthesised drugs in the city.
He added he was selling the drugs under names such as 'Ivory White', but those chemicals contained illegal cathinone drugs.
DC Payne admitted it was a constant battle between police and chemists who were constantly coming up with new drugs with different molecular structures.
He added: "We have seen a rise in the use of mephedrone over the last 12 to 18 months. These sorts of drugs have taken the place of psycho-active drugs such as ecstasy, amphetamine and cocaine.
He urged anyone with information about psycho-active drugs, including so-called formerly "legal highs" to contact the police on 101.