A Polish motorist acting suspiciously was found to have deals of cannabis up the leg of his trousers and in follow-up searches of his car and home a total of €47,900 worth of the drug was uncovered.
Now the 37-year-old who was breaking down, bagging and distributing the drug has been jailed for four years.
Tomasz Ostrowski of The Lawn, Lios Cara, Kileens, County Cork, pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
He admitted the most serious charge of having cannabis at an address at Rosewood, Ballincollig on August 19 2020.
The particular charge referred to having cannabis for sale or supply at a time when its street value exceeded €13,000 – a charge which carries a mandatory ten-year sentence on conviction unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Mr Ostrowski, a Polish national, faced a charge of possession of cannabis for sale or supply at Lotabeg Estate, Boherboy Road, Mayfield on the same date, and admitted that also.
Detective Garda Damian Cronin of Mayfield Garda Station said the circumstances of the detection were that gardaí were on mobile patrol and observed the defendant’s car driving up beside another car and then the two cars driving off together in convoy into the Lotabeg estate.
Gardaí approached and immediately got a smell of cannabis from the car Ostrowski was driving. During a search at the scene the gardaí found three deals of cannabis in the leg of the defendant’s pants and a much larger quantity in the boot of the car.
A search warrant was secured for his address at that time at Rosewood in Ballincollig and gardaí found a stash of cannabis in an office in the house, made up in different weights and bags.
“He held his hands up and admitted storing, repacking and delivering cannabis. He was in genuine fear for his family (and would not identify others) and he refused to give gardaí access to his mobile phone.
“He was holding and breaking up cannabis for a bigger player,” Det Garda Cronin said.
The 28-year-old Polish national had been using cannabis since the age of 14 and had no previous convictions.
Peter O’Flynn, defence barrister, said, “He was storing drugs for others. He was getting 10% of what he was storing. He was a frequent cannabis user and was addicted to it. He accrued a small debt and took a shipment of cannabis to clear that debt.”
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said, “Over €47,000 is a substantial sum and these drugs were found in the car or on his person and at his home in Ballincollig.
“It is clear from the evidence he had a considerable involvement in selling or supplying of drugs. He may not have been the main man but he was breaking it up and moving it on.
“He was a vital cog in the sale of supply. It was a very significant offence.
“I am imposing less than the ten-year (mandatory minimum) because of his level of cooperation in relation to his own involvement. He did not name others out fear.”
The judge imposed a sentence of six years with the last two years suspended.