WHEN an Australia Post van pulled up outside his house in October last year Medowie man Luke Baker was so excited that he took a picture of the red delivery van and messaged it to an associate with the caption "Post man!"
Baker, 42, had been awaiting the delivery for at least a few weeks and within a minute of being handed the four white boxes had snapped a picture of them and sent it onto his contact.
But Baker's excitement would be short-lived; not long after he took the second picture, police knocked on his door armed with a search warrant.
Inside the boxes was more than a kilogram of yellow "SpongeBob SquarePants" MDMA tablets imported from the Netherlands via the dark web, the world's marketplace for illegal drugs.
It has never been easier to buy cocaine, prescription medication, marijuana, ecstasy, ice and heroin online and research from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission in 2018 shows that Australia has the second-highest number of dark web dealers per capita, after the Netherlands.
Baker, who is represented by solicitor Donna Smith, appeared in Newcastle Local Court via audio visual link from jail this week and pleaded guilty to two counts of importing a marketable quantity of a border controlled drug and trafficking in a marketable quantity of a border controlled drug.
He will next appear in Newcastle District Court next month to get a sentence date and is facing a maximum penalty of 25 years in jail.
According to an agreed statement of facts, four international air parcels from the Netherlands were referred for x-ray re-examination at the Australia Post International Sydney Gateway Facility on September 10 last year after inconsistencies were noted in an initial x-ray image.
All four packages were addressed to a "Luke Barker" of Medowie.
After further examination, each parcel was revealed to contain a clear vacuum-sealed bag containing tablets. The packages were later analysed in the police drug laboratory, known as the Forensic and Analytical Science Service or FASS, and found to contain MDMA with a total weight of 621.1 grams.
On September 20, it was the same thing. Four parcels arrived from the Netherlands addressed to a "Luke Barker". They were examined and found to contain 478 grams of MDMA.
On October 3, an Australia Post van pulled up outside Baker's house, Baker took the picture of the van and then eagerly greeted the delivery man, identifying himself as "Luke Barker" and took the packages.
Police then knocked on the door, Baker gave his real name and the police searched the home for the four boxes.
The boxes contained sealed plastic bags with "irregular shaped", fluro yellow "SpongeBob SquarePants" tablets, according to an agreed statement of facts.
Baker had opened two of the boxes, split the tablets up into three zip lock bags and put them in the microwave.
Police then searched Baker's phone and found the pictures and texts, including a series of messages which "indicated Baker relied on another person to source the drugs via the dark web".
"The drugs ordered were then shared between Baker and the person ordering the drugs," the agreed facts state.
He gave a police interview but denied knowing what the tablets were, purchasing any items from the Netherlands and would not comment when confronted with the messages relating to the drug importation and supply operation.