The father of James Munro, the 23-year-old Victorian who died following a drug overdose at Defqon.1 in Western Sydney last month, has broken his silence about the tragic death, saying his son was a quiet boy who didn’t drink or smoke.
Stephen Munro told ABC News that his son panicked upon seeing police when entering the dance festival, held at Sydney’s International Regatta Centre on 15th September. “He had some ecstasy tablets with him [and he] decided to take them before entering Defqon. There was a police presence at the gates and a concern he would be detected.”
James, who had driven from Victoria with two mates to attend the festival, collapsed within half an hour of entering the gates. He was rushed to Sydney’s Nepean Hospital but his elevated body temperature had already caused too much damage to his blood. Stephen said that when the family arrived, they were briefed by doctors about the condition James was in. “His heart had stopped, [they] had tried to resuscitate and did on several occasions. His system gave way, his organs failed, and he had started to haemorrhage. He never came out of coma.”
Stephen said his son had tried ecstasy a few times but wasn’t a drug addict:
“I think it’s just in the last six months that he has tried it a bit more. He wasn’t doing it all the time, just once every month or once every second month. He doesn’t hang out in his bedroom and take this drug, he doesn’t go out by himself and take this drug, he was taking it in a social atmosphere with friends.”
But the family was shocked to discover James had ordered the fatal drugs from website Silk Road, described as the Amazon of illicit drugs, and had them mailed to the family home. “It came in a CD-type box that looked like it was a video games,” Mr Munro said. He’s since found communication online in chat rooms associated with the website between dealers bragging about the quality of their product:
“I was absolutely stunned to see that sort of communication. There could be a belief I know what I’m doing, I know what I’m buying, that this person wouldn’t sell me anything bad, that I can trust them and make that decision. [But] the fact is, most times even the dealer doesn’t know what’s in the drug. It’s only the manufacturer.”
Silk Road was shut down by the FBI last week, with 29-year-old Ross William Ulbricht arrested and charged with charged with narcotics trafficking, computer hacking, money laundering and soliciting murder. Meanwhile, paramedics have described the carnage at Defqon.1 as “a lot more severe than usual”, with 14 hospitalisations and 84 drug arrests. Festival organisers issued a statement saying they were “deeply saddened by the tragedy”, offering their sincere sympathies to the Munro family.