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Aussie Aspie Jailed For Gun Imports, Ecstasy

      By Lauren Ahwan

      An Adelaide father-of-three who illegally imported enough firearms parts to make two automatic machine guns and possessed more than 900g of ecstasy, has been jailed for seven years.
      David Neil Modra, 39, spent about $1370 buying gun parts - that were valued at $28,000 - from the United States over the internet.
      Frequently, Modra, who did not even hold a firearms licence, asked the senders to label the items as machine parts or sports goods to avoid detection by customs officers.
      However, suspicions were eventually raised and officers searched Modra's Willunga home, south of Adelaide, in 2003, where they also uncovered the drugs.
      Modra had more than 500 ecstasy tablets stuffed in plastic bags in a satchel and enough powder to make a further 8784 tablets.
      The South Australian District Court, after earlier accepting Modra's guilty pleas to a string of firearms and drug offences, today said the drugs had a street value of up to $450,000.
      Judge David Smith said Modra, who had an honours degree in biotechnology and had completed his first year of a medicine degree, wanted to sell the drugs to pay off his family's debts and after that intended to commit suicide.
      Judge Smith said Modra had used his knowledge and enthusiasm for science to manufacture the tablets, which "involved a considerable feat of intellect and applied chemistry".
      He said Modra had imported the firearms parts to satisfy his long-term obsession with guns, noting the obsession was consistent with Modra having Asperger's syndrome.
      "I accept that the defendant had an obsession for collecting and possessing weapons as opposed to using them," Judge Smith said.
      "However, he had illegally imported sufficient parts to make two complete Sten guns, which are a banned automatic machine gun.
      "He (also) attempted to import parts for two prohibited Uzi submachine guns.
      "The defendant plainly knew that the parts were prohibited."
      Judge Smith sentenced Modra to seven years imprisonment for the drug offences, with an extra four months for the firearms offences.
      Modra was given a non-parole period of five years and one month.
      The Australian Customs Service welcomed Modra's jailing.
      "Today's sentence is a reminder that while these weapons and (firearms) parts may be freely available on the internet and for sale in some other countries, they cannot be imported without prior approval from the Australian government," Customs SA regional director Virginia Lynch said.