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Dealer imported Death Star skunk cannabis from America to Widnes
Oliver Leech ordered one of ‘the strongest strains on earth’ from a contact in Oregon
A drug dealer was caught importing “Death Star” super-strength skunk cannabis from America to Widnes .
Oliver Leech’s plot was revealed when police seized his mobile phone and found incriminating chats on WhatsApp .
The dad-of-one admitted selling smaller amounts of the Class B drug , over a six-month period, to pay off a £5,000 debt.
But officers also discovered the 30-year-old had been bringing larger quantities into the country via a contact in Oregon.
Messages showed this included Death Star , described by High Times magazine as one of “the strongest strains on earth”.
Liverpool Crown Court heard officers took Leech’s phone when he was arrested for an unrelated matter on October 16, 2017.
Philip Hall, prosecuting, said texts showed people asking if he had any “bud” to sell and an electronic “tick list” in his notes.
One conversation showed Leech had attempted to buy 8.5 ounces of cannabis from another person, for a third party.
Mr Hall said there were also WhatsApp conversations between Leech and someone known as “Joe Joe” in the United States.
He said: “One communication referred to branded cannabis skunk called Death Star.”
The court heard “Joe Joe” asked if he wanted it to be posted and reference was made to money being paid via MoneyGram.
Another message showed Leech asking for “the potent one” and requesting details of where to send money to.
Police found photos of MoneyGram receipts for cash sent to an address in the Pacific Northwest state of Oregon.
Leech provided a neighbour’s address for postage, spelling his name Leach rather than Leech, and talked of drug sales.
Mr Hall said there was reference to £536 being sent to a Joseph Collins, and two sums totalling £966 to a woman, both in America.
The prosecutor said his phone also contained numerous pictures of cannabis and cannabis factories.
Mr Hall said: “One message from Joe Joe invited him to America to look around cannabis factories in the U.S.”
Leech, who has five past convictions for 12 offences, admitted being concerned in the supply of cannabis.
Mr Hall told the court he played a “leading role”, as he “had a link to the source of the growth in America”.
Leech was previously spared jail in May 2016, after admitting possession of cannabis with intent to supply.
He was given a 10-month sentence, suspended for 12 months, which he later breached with a fraud conspiracy.
Leech, of Derby Road, Widnes, admitted that the period of this latest offence breached that suspended sentence.
Tom Watson, defending, said a police raid relating to the 2016 conviction left him owing around £5,000 to dealers.
The lawyer said: “He was trying to pay off the debt that he owed from the previous matter.”
Despite Leech being arrested in October 2017, police analysis of his phone wasn’t completed until July last year.
He was only interviewed in February and Judge Stuart Driver, QC, said he would take into account the 21-month delay.
Mr Watson said Leech had a four-year-old daughter and had tried to turn his life around for her benefit, taking a drug awareness course.
He said: “It hasn’t helped for a long time he’s had a cannabis addiction. In essence that’s the starting point for his involvement in this.”
Mr Watson said the case had been hanging over Leech and his client had found it “very difficult to deal with”.
He said: “It’s taken a toll on his mental health. He’s been admitted on more than one occasion to St John’s Unit.”
However, he said Leech had now got a job working for steel erectors and also raised funds for a suicide awareness charity.
Mr Watson said: “He really has put that life behind him.”
Judge Driver told Leech his previous conviction for dealing cannabis was “a bad feature” of the case.
He said: “Your text messages show you to have been versatile in your activities.
“You were selling small amounts to end users, also buying larger amounts to sell on to other dealers for them to sell on to end users, and importing cannabis from the U.S, though not in large amounts, amounting to about £500 at a time.”
Family and friends of Leech supporting him in the public gallery cried as he was jailed for three years.