The smell of cannabis from a man walking along the main street of Castlemartyr, Co Cork, attracted the attention of gardaí — and when they opened the suitcase he was carrying, they found €33,750 in cash.
Detective Garda Michelle Quinn testified that €39,000 worth of drugs was seized at the man’s home in a follow-up investigation.
Israel Matiki, aged 24, has now been jailed for four years.
On June 22, 2019, in Castlemartyr there was a strong smell of cannabis from the defendant, who was subsequently searched. Cannabis herb and a suitcase containing €33,750 in cash were found.
Gardaí obtained a warrant to search his house in Cuirt Na Greine, Castlemartyr. Almost 2kg of cannabis was found in the search, with a €39,000 street value. More cash was found at the house, to the sum of €2,150.
“He made admissions saying he was minding the cannabis and money for another party, but he would not disclose any details and indicated he was afraid of the other party,” Det Garda Quinn said.
Tom Creed, defending, said there were testimonials describing the good character of Matiki, who had no previous convictions and had not come to the attention of gardaí since this occurred.
“Apart from this incident, he was being a useful member of society,” Mr Creed said.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said: “This is a case in which the guard outlined somewhat unusual circumstances.
"She found him pulling a bag through Castlemartyr and there was a smell of cannabis which brought her attention to him and the suitcase. Then there was a search of the house.
“He accepted the money was the proceeds of crime.
“This man was well integrated in society doing a course, working, and playing sport, and he knowingly got involved in this.”
Judge Ó Donnabháin imposed a five-year jail term on Matiki, with the last year suspended.