Two friends who were caught transferring €1.8m of cannabis resin from tile boxes into sportsbags in a Dublin apartment have been given sentences of 14 and 10 years.
Gardaí burst into John Lynch’s Coolock apartment to find him and Anthony Tiernan loading 1,055 cannabis resin slabs into black holdall bags for distribution.
Officers found another €630,000 of the drug in a van given to Lynch by third parties in the building’s car park.
Tiernan (aged 48) of Castletimon Green, Kilmore West and Lynch (aged 46) of Castlekevin Apartments, Castlekevin Road, Coolock both pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possessing 263.8kg of the drugs valued at €1.8m on May 20, 2009.
Lynch also pleaded guilty to possessing a further 360 slabs of cannabis resin worth €630,000 in a van on the same date.
Judge Desmond Hogan imposed a 14-year sentence on Lynch but suspended the final two years on strict conditions. He imposed a 10-year sentence on Tiernan, who he said had a slightly lessor role, and suspended the final two years.
Lynch has four previous minor road traffic offences.
Tiernan has six previous convictions including a minor assault dating back to 1986.
Detective Garda David Kennedy told Mr Tony McGillicuddy BL, prosecuting, that Lynch said he was getting around €1,750 to repackage the drugs and that Tiernan was giving him a hand with the job.
Det Gda Kennedy said Tiernan also claimed he was to get money for his role but the amount hadn’t been specified.
The detective garda said both men described having alcohol and gambling debts.
He agreed with Mr Padraig O’Dwyer SC, for Lynch, that the father-of-three had been fully co-operative but had been afraid to name the drug suppliers.
Det Gda Kennedy further agreed that Lynch was low down on the scale in the drugs trade.
He agreed with Ms Eilis Brennan BL, for Tiernan, that her client was also co-operative and had never been a Garda National Drugs Unit target.
The detective garda agreed that Tiernan said he had needed the money to cover debts, but did not know how much he was to get.
Both Ms Brennan (with Mr Sean Gillane SC) and Mr O’Dwyer (with Ms Anne-Marie Lawlor BL) submitted to Judge Hogan that their clients were deeply remorseful.
Mr O’Dwyer asked the judge to treat Lynch, a former cab driver, as a first time offender and to be lenient with the sentence.
Ms Brennan submitted that Tiernan had a long-standing alcohol addiction and had suffered post traumatic stress disorder having survived the Stardust disaster in 1981.
Ms Brennan further submitted that Lynch had sometimes helped her client through “rough times”.