A THREE-year jail term was imposed on a Dublin man caught unloading €183,000 worth of cannabis from a van outside a house in Castlemartyr almost two years ago.
Judge Sarah Berkely imposed the sentence of four years on Wayne McNamara and suspended the last year of that sentence at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
The accused had been remanded in custody to appear for sentencing in Cork.
Detective Garda Ruairí McGovern testified at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that there was a surveillance operation in place on the day in question – October 27 2020 – when a white Volkswagen van arrived and pulled up outside a house at Elm Grove in Castlemartyr, County Cork, and the driver started unpacking the drugs from the engine area of the van.
The cannabis had a street value of €183,000, Garda McGovern said. All of the drugs were wrapped in black plastic and when gardaí involved in a follow-up search at his home in Dublin found a large stash of cash this too was wrapped in similar black plastic. More of this black plastic was also found in the back of his van.
32-year-old Wayne McNamara 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 ten years on conviction unless the judge finds there are exceptional circumstances.
He also admitted a money-laundering charge related to €88,000 in cash allegedly seized at the Dublin address on the same date.
Ray Boland, defence senior counsel, said: “He instructs me he basically had no choice.”
Mr Boland said McNamara had a debt arising out of a car purchase that resulted in him being pressurised by a criminal gang.
Judge Sarah Berkeley said in response to evidence of the absence of convictions against the accused man:
“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 SC agreed that drug gangs were using people who are otherwise not criminals – “people who have no involvement with the gardaí, and pressure being put on them.”
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