Cork court: Van driver caught with €183k of cannabis

Detective Garda Ruairí McGovern testified at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that there was a surveillance operation in place on October 27, 2020, when a white Volkswagen van pulled up outside a house at Elm Grove in Castlemartyr, Co Cork.
Cork court: Van driver caught with €183k of cannabis

All of the drugs were wrapped in black plastic. When gardaí conducted a follow-up search at the defendant’s home in Dublin, they found a large stash of cash, which was also wrapped in similar black plastic. More of the black plastic was found in the back of his van. Picture: iStock

GARDAÍ operating concealed surveillance in Castlemartyr observed a Dublin man unloading packages of cannabis from the engine area of a van outside a house — the accused has said that basically he had no choice.

Detective Garda Ruairí McGovern testified at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that there was a surveillance operation in place on October 27, 2020, when a white Volkswagen van pulled up outside a house at Elm Grove in Castlemartyr, Co Cork.

The detective said the driver started unpacking the drugs.

The cannabis had a street value of €183,000, Det Garda McGovern said.

All of the drugs were wrapped in black plastic. When gardaí conducted a follow-up search at the defendant’s home in Dublin, they found a large stash of cash, which was also wrapped in similar black plastic. More of the black plastic was found in the back of his van.

Wayne McNamara, aged 32, of Innis Thiar, Tallaght, Dublin, pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis for sale or supply when its street value exceeded €13,000. This threshold figure carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years on conviction unless the judge finds there are exceptional circumstances.

McNamara also admitted a money-laundering charge related to €88,000 in cash allegedly seized at the Dublin address on the same date.

Defence senior counsel Ray Boland said: 

“He instructs me he basically had no choice.”

Mr Boland said McNamara had a debt arising out of a car purchase, which resulted in him being pressurised by a criminal gang.

Judge Sarah Berkeley remanded McNamara in custody until September 8 for sentencing.

When hearing of the absence of previous convictions against the accused man, the Judge Berkeley said: “A lot of people who are caught with drugs are young people who are otherwise employed and trying to make a bit more money. It is a completely different regime.”

Mr Boland agreed that drug gangs were using people who were otherwise not criminals — “people who have no involvement with the gardaí, and pressure being put on them.”

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