Drug abuser's ruse ends with jail, caning

He ordered drugs online, got them mailed to him via post - disguised as everyday items

Nicholas Chee Li-Yong had all the creature comforts of a multimillion-dollar home in Dalvey Road but he also had a drug habit.

He would order drugs, such as cannabis, online and have them sent over through the postal system - disguised as everyday items.

Yesterday, the unemployed 28-year-old was jailed for five years and eight months, with 10 strokes of the cane. He pleaded guilty to two counts of drug consumption and one count each of drug importation, trafficking and possession.

Twenty other drug-related charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

When officers from the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) raided his home on Jan 22 last year, they found an assortment of drugs, including cocaine, opium, lysergide or LSD, and mescaline - a hallucinogen obtained from the Peyote cactus.

His urine showed traces of cannabis and nimetazepam or Erimin-5.

Chee's ruse was uncovered when an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer at the ICA parcel post section in Eunos Road found a parcel from the United States marked "Stussy logo tank top".

Chee's ruse was uncovered when an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer at the ICA parcel post section in Eunos Road found a parcel from the United States marked "Stussy logo tank top". The parcel contained cannabis and was addressed to Chee's virtual office business mailing address in Robinson Road.

The parcel contained cannabis and was addressed to Chee's virtual office business mailing address in Robinson Road.

CNB was alerted and officers went to his home near Bukit Timah Road later that day and arrested him.

Chee said he had intended to use the LSD - which CNB officers found during a search of his room - to barter for drugs such as ecstasy, nimetazepam and methamphetamine or Ice, with a woman known only as Shuk.

She was his former girlfriend's older sister and he had previously bartered drugs with Shuk on two or three occasions.

Chee admitted he bought cocaine online for US$350 (S$497) and claimed it was for his own consumption.

Three other parcels addressed to him were detected at the ICA parcel post section and the Singapore Post Jalan Lembah Kallang delivery base between Jan 28 and Feb 3 last year.

They were found to contain items including glass apparatus and two plastic packets of cannabis.

He said he bought the drug from an online website and the supplier, whom he believed to be from the US, would send it to him via post.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chan Yi Cheng said Chee admitted he last smoked cannabis from the supplier on the day of his arrest.

In mitigation, his lawyer, Mr Foo Cheow Ming, said his client has osteoarthritis and a degenerative spine disease.

After handing out the sentence, District Judge Jasvender Kaur directed the prison medical authorities to review Chee's suitability for caning.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 11, 2017, with the headline 'Drug abuser's ruse ends with jail, caning'. Print Edition | Subscribe