Two men acting suspiciously when they spotted a garda patrol car last New Year’s Eve led to the discovery of two cannabis grow houses in Dundalk and in Dublin and the seizure of cannabis herb at a third property, Dundalk Circuit Court heard last week.
Arturas Samuilis (34) with an address at Bryanstown Court, Drogheda had keys to the three addresses, which the court was told had their locks changed, after they were rented.
The investigating garda told the court he and a colleague were on mobile patrol in Dundalk on December 31st last, when they noticed the occupants of a Green Audi acting suspiciously.
The passenger was conscious of the garda presence and the driver repeatedly checked his rear view mirror. The car was parked at the back of a property on Castle Road and when the accused was searched under the Misuse of Drugs Act, four sets of keys were recovered.
One opened a door at the back of the address and another key unlocked a garage, where a large number of black bin bags of cannabis stalks and off-cuts were found, along with cultivating equipment, which the accused denied any knowledge off.
A search warrant was obtained and the upstairs of the house was found to be converted into a grow house. Approximately €210,000 worth of cannabis plants and herbs – including saplings, were seized.
Rental agreements for two other properties were found on his phone and he was identified on CCTV with another person buying equipment in Woodies.
At an address on Dublin Street €6,400 worth of cannabis was found in a vacuum pack while a further €144,000 worth of cannabis plants were seized from the upstairs of an address on St. Patrick’s Road, Drumcondra.
The detective confirmed to the Defence barrister that his client – who had no previous convictions in this jurisdiction, had provided the access code to unlock the evidence against him on his mobile phone.
However, when the barrister suggested his client was not the main operator, the garda said the accused was an organiser, who had arranged the renting of the properties and sourced the equipment used in the operation and had checked “that everything was running smoothly”.
The court heard the defendant had gone off the rails when his sister died of a heart condition aged 36.
The barrister argued that his client had been of material assistance to the investigation and claimed he had entered criminality following a tragedy and wishes to change his life.
Judge Michael O’Shea said he was satisfied the accused had fully cooperated with the investigation and assisted in the controller of the operation being arrested. For having over €13,000 worth of drugs for sale or supply at the Castle Road and Drumcondra properties he imposed five year concurrent sentences with the last two years suspended.