Gardaí operating concealed surveillance in Castlemartyr observed a man unloading packages of cannabis from the engine area of a van — and they later seized €48,800 worth of the drug in his bedroom and a shoebox stuffed with over €30,000 in cash.
Detective Garda Tony Holmes said the home of the accused man, 34-year-old Thomas Kelly of Elm Grove, Gortanoir, Castlemartyr, Co Cork, was under surveillance at the time by gardaí.
He has now been sentenced to three years in jail for this and a consecutive one year for another crime, leaving him commencing a total sentence of four years.
He was seen coming out from his home when a white Volkswagen van pulled up. He unloaded packages of cannabis and brought them into the house.
Gardaí with a search warrant then went into the house where they seized the packages of cannabis in the defendant’s bedroom. The drugs had a street value of €48,800.
In a shoebox in his bedroom there was €30,500 in cash.
Thomas Kelly had two previous convictions for having drugs for his own use — offences that were dealt with at district court level.
There will be an application for forfeiture of the cash to the State. Defence senior counsel Ray Boland said there was no objection to that application.
Mr Boland said: “He made admissions. He came before the court on a signed plea of guilty. This has been a wake-up call from Mr Kelly.
“He has addressed his underlying difficulties with drugs.”
Compounding the difficulties for Thomas Kelly at Cork Circuit Criminal Court he also faced sentencing for a separate crime.
While he was on bail for the drugs case he was involved in breaking into a house after midnight on November 29, 2020, with another man, who carried a shovel.
Judge Boyle commented after hearing the evidence in this latter case that the accused had consumed “a staggering amount of alcohol – beer, Jaggermeister, rum — and tablets”.
Detective Garda Kieran Crowley said Thomas Kelly kicked in the front door of the house while the man with him, Jason Hayes, came in after him carrying a shovel.
The detective said Kelly assaulted a man at the house and Hayes pushed a woman aside, although it was accepted that this pushing was accidental and was more in the nature of brushing her aside.
Alison McCarthy, barrister, represented Kelly in this burglary case.
Ms McCarthy reminded the judge that Garda Kieran Crowley had indicated there was a bad reaction by Kelly to a family situation. He accepted there was no excuse for what he did.
Ms McCarthy said, “He had taken 20 to 30 Valium pills and a bottle of Captain Morgan’s rum on the night. He was out of his mind on drink and drugs on the night.
“He has paid €1,500 compensation. He is a man who can be valuable to society in the future.”
Jason Hayes, 29, of Sunnyside House, Bailick Road, Midleton, Co Cork, faced sentencing for his part in the burglary.
Defence barrister Paula McCarthy said to Judge Boyle: “You heard that he was there out of loyalty to his friend. While he brushed past the injured party there was no intention of causing any injury. He contacted her on Facebook that night and apologised to her. He made full admissions to gardaí and indicated his remorse.”
Jason Hayes was remanded in custody until June 29 for sentence. His only involvement was in going with Kelly and taking part in the break-in. Hayes admitted that and having the shovel.