Man alleged to be part of Eastern European drugs gang

A Polish man who was allegedly found to have a sophisticated cannabis growing operation in a house in a select area of Tralee last Thursday was part of “a foreign national based drug dealing gang from Eastern Europe”, it was claimed yesterday.

Robert Zielinski, aged 31, of Riverwalk, Oakpark, Tralee, Co Kerry, is charged with three counts under the Misuse of Drugs Acts including possession, possession for sale or supply and cultivation of cannabis at his house on June 30.

He was assisted by an interpreter at Tralee District Court yesterday where the matter had been adjourned from Kenmare on Friday.

Sgt Miriam Mulhall Nolan said there was an objection to bail as this was “a very sophisticated operation, professionally run”.

The State objected to an application for bail by Mr Zielinski’s solicitor, Patrick Mann.

Garda Stephen O’Brien said Zielinski was the sole occupier of the house and was caught “red-handed” with mature cannabis plants valued at €21,000.

The “very sophisticated growing equipment” was valued at a further €5,000.

It was likely there would be other charges.

In Ireland for more than 11 years, he had “no ties” and had changed address “15 times”, the garda continued.

He believed he was part of a foreign-based drug-dealing gang from Eastern Europe. His only income was social welfare of €825 a month. He had a car and he travelled back and forth to Poland.

Mr Mann said his client had lived at an address in Limerick where he had been in a relationship and he had previously worked at a meat factory in Rathkeale. He had recently worked in Listowel. He travelled to southern Poland to see his mother who was a widow, lived alone and was a deaf mute. For the past eight months, he lived “in a Sylvan suburb” in Tralee.

A cousin from Newcastlewest, Co Limerick, who told the court he was on disability payments, and who had moved to a four-bedroom house with his girlfriend last week, offered to post cash bail of €2,000. However, Judge James O’Connor, who declined jurisdiction, refused bail and remanded Mr Zielinski in custody for two weeks for a book of evidence to be served. He indicated he would look at bail then.


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