German Man Sentenced to Five Years for Subutex Trafficking
Due, in part, to a lengthy criminal record, the District Court of Konstanz sentenced a 49-year-old man to five years in prison for trafficking Subutex and hashish in person and on the darknet. Although the man argued that he had planned on using the drugs personally, the prosecutors claimed that the evidence contradicted his statements and the presiding judge agreed with the prosecution. The five-year sentence is not final, however. The convicted dealer can appeal the sentence and most likely will attempt to do so requesting having his time already served.
The case against the so-called “long-time drug user” began in 2016 after the 49-year-old and an accomplice were caught smuggling drugs from France to his home in Villingen, Germany. According to the prosecution, the 49-year-old’s friend had taken advantage of two doctors in Colmar, France. At one of the doctor’s offices, the accomplice received prescriptions for traditional opioid painkillers for an undisclosed ailment. At another doctor’s office in the same area, the accomplice received prescriptions for Subutex.
Although Subutex (aka buprenorphine) can be used in pain management, medical professionals more frequently use the drug to combat opioid addiction. The drug binds at the μ-opioid receptor with a much higher affinity than the majority of opioids available to the public. It prevents the majority of μ-agonists from binding and, as a result, helps prevent or soften withdrawals. The courts did not necessarily disapprove of his friend’s Subutex prescription. But, since taking traditional opioids and Subutex together would be considered a massive waste of product, the prosecutors knew the duo had not been getting the drugs for medical purposes.
It would not have mattered anyway; the duo took trips to France and then smuggled the drugs access the border to resell. They had used the Audi that belonged to the 49-year-old’s partner. During the course of the investigation, the authorities learned that the 49-year-old, on occasion, had driven the vehicle for his partner. The man had lost his license in an incident years prior and was not permitted to drive. The court added on years to his driving ban. Investigators learned that the 49-year-old had purchased marijuana from France that he had also smuggled it back over the border. These trips, the prosecution explained, ultimately funded the defendant’s lifestyle in Germany.
Investigators knew the 49-year-old had imported the drugs and then sold them to his acquaintances in Germany. They also had evidence that the 49-year-old had sold an unknown amount of Subutex and nearly 300 grams of hashish on the darknet. The defendant admitted the sale of the hashish but continued to deny selling prescription narcotics. Prosecutors finally provided evidence in the form of a signed confession he had prepared in exchange for a suspended sentence he had hoped to receive.
The man has been waiting for this hearing for more than a year. He will likely appeal the five-year sentence to receive a sentence that reflects his time already served in custody.