The police appear to be totally anti cannabis in Ireland yet do nothing to protect the citizens from the banking fraudsters who have brought the country to its knees.
Would the public be better served if more police time were devoted to investigating the crimes of bankers and speculators rather than using up their resources chasing cannabis dealers
How many people in Ireland have had problems with the police for possession of cannabis. How many have been sent to jail.
Yet the bankers and speculators who have brought the country to its knees still walk the land as free citizens I wonder why!!!
Published on 26/04/2013 15:00
A TANDRAGEE man was among seven members of a crime gang jailed last Friday for their involvement in a £2.5 million drugs smuggling operation in Belfast.
James Turley, 53, of Ballymore Road, Tandragee and 38-year-old Warren Martin, of Windsor Terrace, Coagh – who were described by the judge as “privates” in the operation – were jailed for 15 months and 13 months respectively, with half of the term being custodial.
Gang leader Ryan Joseph Black, 29, received the longest term, seven and a half years, with a man described as his “trusted lieutenant” William Johnston, 35, given six years and nine months at Belfast Crown Court.
A major drugs manufacturing operation was uncovered in a city centre flat as part of a police operation in 2010 to disrupt the gang.
All seven men involved pleaded guilty to charges facing them prior to the start of their trial.
Black, whose address cannot be published for legal reasons, and Johnston, of Windermere Park, Belfast, have to serve half the terms in custody, with the remainder on licence.
Both men have already spent a substantial period of time in prison on remand since their arrests in December 2010. This time served will be deducted from the sentences handed down by Judge David McFarland.
Around 52,000 illicit tablets, 30kg of cannabis resin, 1kg of cocaine and £15,000 in cash were part of the haul found in the Laganview Court apartment near Queen’s Bridge in Belfast.
A hydraulic press for making cocaine, an industrial blender, cutting agent, boards, scales and knives were also seized from inside the property, which was fitted with black-out blinds.
The flat was searched by officers in December 2010 shortly after police intercepted the transfer of 26kg of herbal cannabis between vehicles near the Boucher Road in south Belfast.
Two months earlier in the Duncrue estate in north Belfast police halted another drugs transfer – this time involving around 45 kg of herbal cannabis – linked to the same trafficking operation.
Of the five other gang members, Aiden Joseph McPartland, 32, from Deramore Gardens, Belfast and Mark Mulholland, 27, of Colonsay Park, Ballymena, were described by the judge as “corporals” in the command structure. They received 22 months and 24 months respectively. Again only half the sentences are custodial.
Anthony McStravick, 33, from Ailesbury Road, Belfast, who was said by the judge to have played a “minor role”, was given 10 months. He will be eligible for remission.
The men showed no emotion as the sentences were handed down.
Police believe the drugs were transported from England and were destined for the illicit market in Belfast.
The PSNI said, during a parallel investigation in England conducted by East Midlands Special Operations Unit, 11 people received convictions last year.
After the sentencing hearing, PSNI Organised Crime Branch Detective Superintendent Philip Marshall said: “This was a lengthy and complex proactive investigation into an organised crime gang which was bringing large quantities of controlled drugs into Northern Ireland.
“We have secured convictions against the gang leader and his deputy as well as their couriers and the individual responsible for mixing the cocaine.
“Working with colleagues in East Midlands Special Operations Unit, we have swept away a web of illegal drug supply covering Northern Ireland and part of England.
“The gang leader, Ryan Black, believed he could direct the activities of the gang from a safe distance and escape the reach of the law.
“But the investigation by Organised Crime Branch was of such a comprehensive and forensic nature that his plan failed. Both the gang leader and his associates have been made amenable.
“In Northern Ireland we have dismantled a gang responsible for large-scale drugs importation.
“Organised Crime Branch will continue to work with local communities and colleagues in law enforcement, in this jurisdiction and around the world, to ensure Northern Ireland is a hostile environment for those who seek to make money by manufacturing, importing or distributing controlled drugs.”
THREE Chinese men who pleaded guilty to their involvement in a massive drugs bust at Piltown eleven months ago were jailed for seven and half years, suspended for six years on condition they leave the country immediately and not return during their life-time.
The accused Guotai Lin (60), Lin Lin (41) and Chao Long He (36) of no fixed abode were sentenced by Judge Alice Doyle at Kilkenny Circuit Court on Tuesday last.
Assisted by an interpreter and described by Garda Thomas Gahan as being on the ‘lowest rung of the ladder in relation to this particular operation but caught in time’, the trio pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis for sale or supply and cultivation of cannabis in Kildalton, Piltown on May 2, 2012.
Smuggled into Ireland
They’ve been in custody since May 4 last year and were trafficked into the UK and then smuggled into Ireland using false ID papers.
The court heard they were effectively imprisoned in Piltown, their living conditions were basic but they knew they were dealing with cannabis.
Garda Gahan outlined that 43.5 kilogrammes of cannbis herb valued at €870,000 was seized along with 16 kilos in packages after members of the Garda National Drugs Unit and Gardai from Kilkenny Division and the Regional Support Unit raided the warehouse – two separate industrial units that had been merged – at 6.55pm on May 2 last.
However, media reports at the time estimated the street value of the cannabis find, some harvested and much of it still in pots, to be in the region of €3.5 million.
The two units had been rented out, unknown to the owners and to create optimum conditions for cultivation, the walls were knocked between the units, the roof was lowered, the ESB was bypassed and ventilation systems were installed.
While elaborate heat lamps and thermometers, nutrients and water barrells for feeding the plants, a vacuum packing machine and weighing scales were discovered.
Garda Gahan presented comprehensive photographic evidence of the warehouse and it showed separate areas where cannabis was being dried, two rooms where plants were at an advanced stage of growth and another where plants had flowered and were ready for cultivation.
Garda Gahan explained the three men were located inside and subsequently arrested. None of them had English and with the assistance of an interpreter they were interviewed four times over a period of two days at Kilkenny and Thomastown Garda Stations where they were co-operative and a plea was indicated at an early stage. A photograph of their living quarters was presented in evidence.
None of the three had previous convictions in this jurisdiction, but Lin Lin had a conviction for selling counterfeit DVD’s in England in 2001.
Garda Gahan said they were at the bottom rung of the ladder but when it was put to him by Senior Counsel Paddy McCarthy (representing Guotai Lin) they’d no home comforts living in the warehouse, he countered, “They also had phones and phone credit and a small amount of money was found. Their job was done and we caught them in time.”
Judge Doyle said it was a very serious case with a massive amount of drugs involved. “There was €870,000 of cannabis herb found but there was also a huge amount of uncultivated plants and they probably had a value of twice that figure or a lot more.”
She did take into account that the defendants spent a year in custody already and insisted it would of no benefit to the Irish state to keep them in prison. “They are vulnerable people and were not involved in drugs before and one has attempted serious self harm while in prison.”
Prosecuting barrister Brian O’Shea indicated the maximum prison sentence Judge Alice Doyle could impose was 14 years and she explained the suspension of their sentences only comes into effect when they are in a position to be deported.
A drug gang concealed a sophisticated cannabis growhouse in two 40ft containers which they buried under a mobile home in a remote part of Co Cork.
The gang accessed the containers through the floor of a mobile home near the village of Ballyvourney.
Gardaí say it is the first bunker-style growhouse of its type found. They described it as “very sophisticated”, with its own power and water supply.
Armed with a search warrant, members of the Cork West Divisional Drugs Unit, raided the growhouse shortly after 7pm last Tuesday.
They found about 150 plants in various stages of growth, which have an estimated street value of €100,000.
Three men, believed to be in their early to mid-30s and from Eastern Europe, were arrested.
Two were being detained at Bandon Garda Station and the third in Macroom Garda Station under section 2 of the Drug Trafficking Act, 1996.
The growhouse was concealed under the mobile home in a woodland clearing at Derreenaling — about 3km south-west of Ballyvourney, near the Cork/Kerry border.
“This wasn’t done with a spade and shovel. Machinery had to be used to dig out the site for the containers,” said a senior Garda source.
He added it was the first underground growhouse of its type he had seen.
“We were used to mainstream republicans in the past and now dissident republicans using underground bunkers for hiding arms, training purposes, and hiding people. But we haven’t see this type of concealment with growhouses.”
Gardaí cordoned off the growhouse and yesterday morning started a full analysis of its contents. It is the second major growhouse seizure to occur on the Cork/Kerry border in past few days.
Last Thursday night, gardaí from Kanturk seized 204 cannabis plants in various stages of growth and about 1kg of processed cannabis worth in the region of €170,000.
The cannabis plants were found in sheds outside a family home near the village of Rathmore, Co Kerry.
A number of members of a family were in the house when gardaí raided it. There were no arrests at the time.
However, a Garda spokesman confirmed yesterday that a mother and son had since been arrested in connection with that investigation. “They were released without charge and a file is to be prepared for the DPP.”
Meanwhile, in an unrelated drugs seizure, gardaí arrested two men in their 40s following the discovery of cocaine, cannabis resin and cannabis herb worth €20,000 on the northside of Cork City.
Elsewhere, gardaí last night arrested two men, seized a number of stolen vehicles, and uncovered a cannabis growing facility in Ballycoolin, Dublin. The cannabis was worth about €125,000.
A builder who lost his job after 25 years resorted to growing cannabis at his home because he could see no other way out of his financial problems.
Eamon Hourihan, aged 52, yesterday pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis at Templeboden, Ballincurrig, Leamlara, Co Cork, on May 17, 2011, and having the drug for sale or supply.
Garda Kieran Glynn testified at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday that Hourihan had not made any money out of growing cannabis but its potential street value when he was caught two years ago amounted to €82,000.
Hourihan, who now lives in Monkstown, faced the possibility of a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 10 years because of the quantity of drugs.
However, Judge Patrick J Moran imposed a sentence of five years suspended.
The judge said: “There have been a number of testimonials handed in and they all speak well of you. You set up your own business which unfortunately collapsed in the current economic climate.
“You have managed to get some employment and are now working on a part-time basis.
“The activity you were involved in is a very easy way of making money of the wrong kind. You obviously thought about this and decided to use this farmhouse and adapted it. You did this with considerable intent and that makes the matter particularly serious.
“However, having said that, Garda Glynn tells me you did not make any profit out of it. Once he appeared with his search warrant you would appear to have pulled yourself together and made that the end of your drug road. I don’t think that sending you to prison would be of any benefit to society.”
Garda Glynn obtained a search warrant on foot of confidential information that cannabis was being grown at the remote farmhouse.
“At 2.30pm on May 17, 2011, I entered the house to conduct a search. Eamon Hourihan was present. The house had been transformed for the growth of cannabis. There were 108 mature plants and 100 saplings.”
James O’Mahony, defending, handed in correspondence that he said contained glowing character references for the accused.
“This whole event has devastated this family. He has done everything he possibly can to rehabilitate himself. He is an exceptional person with an exceptional past.”
Detectives have seized drugs with an estimated street value of €400,000.
A man and a woman arrested during the operation in Lucan, west Dublin, are being questioned about the cannabis find.
The haul was uncovered in a raid on a house in the Hillcrest Heights area last night.
The cannabis herb has been sent for forensic analysis.
A man in his late 20s and a woman in her early 20s were arrested at the scene.
They are being detained at Ronanstown and Lucan Garda Stations under the Drug Trafficking Act.
The arrests were made as part of an ongoing investigation into the sale and supply of controlled drugs in Dublin.
The operation was carried out by the Lucan Drugs Unit and Garda National Drugs Unit.
A Garda spokesman said: “Investigations are ongoing.”
GARDAI in the Tuam area of Galway have seized cannabis plants worth an estimated €2.5m.
Two men in their mid 40s and early 50s are being detained in Mill Street Garda station Galway way Garda station(Mill Street) under the provisions of Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act 1996.
This is the second seizure in the last 48 hours, with €1.5 million worth of cannabis herb seized from a business premises in Kells, Co Meath earlier. Two people, a man and a woman, were arrested in that operation.
The seizures were part of the Garda on ongoing investigations into the sale and supply of drugs in the west of Ireland, and under the auspices of Operation Nitrogen targeting cannabis growing operations.
Gardai say the latest seizure in Tuam included 3,000 plants at various stages of growth and that drug growing paraphernalia was seized during the operation.