AN off-duty garda putting diesel in his van managed to make a drugs bust – detecting a €1,440 package of amphetamines being moved around in another car at the filling station.
Garda Brian Holland gave evidence of the vigilance of his colleague Garda Pat Harrington at the filling station in Ballincollig, County Cork.
“Garda Harrington was putting diesel in his van. He observed two men in another car. One of them went into the garage. The other man – Piotr Zazula of 100 The Cloisters, Ballincollig – was sitting in the passenger seat. He placed a package under the gearstick of the car,” Garda Holland said.
Unfortunately for Zazula, Garda Harrington then approached the car and announced himself as a member of An Garda Síochána and said he was going to carry out a drugs search.
The package was recovered and found to contain suspected amphetamine. The defendant admitted it was amphetamine. There was a follow-up search at his home at The Cloisters and a small amount of cannabis was found.
He was prosecuted for having cannabis at his home and amphetamine at the garage, for his own use. More seriously, he was charged with having the amphetamine also for the purpose of sale or supply.
Eddie Burke solicitor said the accused cooperated fully with the investigation.
While the solicitor said Zazula stated that the amphetamine was for his own use, Mr Burke explained to him that the charge of sale or supply was brought in circumstances where the quantity was deemed too large for immediate personal use. Zazula entered a plea to the two possession charges and the third charge of possession for sale or supply.
Judge Colm Roberts said, “My guess is that he got an amount to self-finance his own use – to sell for what he was going to use. It is not big time but I think it was for sale.”
Mr Burke said the 40-year-old from Poland was in Ireland for six years and had no previous convictions and was presently waiting for a knee operation.
Judge Roberts said that in light of the absence of previous convictions he would give the accused the benefit of a dismissal under the Probation of Offenders Act, on payment of a €750 contribution to Tabor Lodge treatment centre.