A 58 year old man who admitted storing over 600,000 contraband cigarettes in a shed at his home in County Louth, was given a two and a half year suspended sentence at Dundalk Circuit Court.
The court was told customs officers were satisfied John McCartan of Commons Road, Dromiskin was not involved “in the importation, distribution or sale of the cigarrettes” which were recovered following a search on the 30th of June last year.
More than 625,000 untaxed cigarettes were recovered in the search - made up of 14 different brands, as well as 98 kilos of “roll your own” tobacco with a loss to the Exchequer of €300,000.
John McCartan told customs officers that he was not there when the goods were placed in the shed. He admitted knowing that tobacco products were being stored there and said he was doing a favour for someone, who the court heard he had expressed “a degree of fearfulness” of. The court heard the defendant is a fitter and welder with the same employer for over 30 years and was assessed as being at low risk of reoffending. Judge Michael O’Shea said he accepted the accused was a minor player in the overall context, but added he was an important link nonetheless.