Man found with €183k worth of cannabis after Cork gardaí mounted surveillance operation

Volkswagen van pulled up outside a house at Elm Grove in Castlemartyr, Co Cork, and driver started unpacking the drugs, court told
Man found with €183k worth of cannabis after Cork gardaí mounted surveillance operation

Accused also admitted a money-laundering charge related to €88,000 in cash allegedly seized at the Dublin address on the same date — October 27, 2020. Picture: Larry Cummins

Gardaí operating concealed surveillance in Castlemartyr observed a Dublin man unloading packages of cannabis from the engine area of a van outside a house and now 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 the day in question — October 27, 2020 — when a white Volkswagen van arrived and pulled up outside a house at Elm Grove in Castlemartyr, Co Cork, and the driver started unpacking the drugs.

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.

Wayne McNamara, 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. 

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 remanded him in custody until September 8 for sentencing.

When hearing of the absence of convictions against the accused man previously, the judge said: “A lot of people who are caught with drugs are young people who are 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 are otherwise not criminals — “people who have no involvement with the gardaí, and pressure being put on them”.

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