A Polish van driver who appeared to be delivering furniture through Cork was stopped in a random search as he drove off the ferry and over €600,000 worth of cannabis was found concealed behind false panels.
Now Kamil Wlizlo is commencing a five-year prison term imposed on him by Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
“This matter comes before the court on a signed plea of guilty. I am departing from the ten-year mandatory sentence because of the level of cooperation with gardaí, making admissions against his own interests.
“It is a very serious offence given the value of the drugs – in excess of €600,000, - which he knowingly brought into the state.
“He comes from a country where drug use is also prohibited so he knew what he was doing,” the judge said as he imposed a jail term of five years on the accused.
The driver was caught with the illegal drugs concealed in the panels of a van at Ringaskiddy on Tuesday March 9. The 22-year-old Polish man pleaded guilty to having more than €13,000 worth of the drug which allows for a mandatory ten-year sentence unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Detective Garda Dermot Crowley said that on that date officers of Customs and Excise at Ringaskiddy observed a number of vehicles disembarking, including the Polish camper van, in which the accused was the sole occupant.
“It was stopped by customs officers. A decision was made for further examination. The vehicle was found to have furniture in the rear carriage area.
“Panelling appeared to have been recently added to the rear of the vehicle. They made a drill hole in the rear panelling and could get a smell of cannabis.
“The panelling was removed and 37 black packets of varying amounts were found. They contained cannabis.”
At interview the accused said he was approached outside Bordeaux by a number of men who said they would pay him twice his delivery rate if he brought cigarettes from France to Ireland for them. He agreed but when he went to collect the consignment it turned out to be over 30 kilos of cannabis.
Defence barrister Emmet Boyle said it was not a targeted search but that the accused was stopped randomly. He said the young man made full admission of responsibility.
Mr Boyle said the prison term would be more difficult for the accused because he had very limited English and no ties to the country. Kamil Wlizlo of Piekne, Elk, Poland, admitted having the controlled drug, namely cannabis, when its street value amounted to €618,850.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed the five-year sentence on him.
At the time of the drug importation it was reported that the drug detector dog Marley helped to sniff out the drugs during the search of the Polish-registered van, which had arrived from Roscoff, France.
The charges follow the discovery by customs officers of drugs wrapped in separate parcels in the van that disembarked from the Brittany Ferries vessel, Armorique upon its arrival in Cork.