Wednesday 21 March 2018

Father who stashed €70k of heroin jailed

A 30-YEAR-OLD Lithuanian man admitted to having a stash of almost €70,000 worth of heroin hidden when gardai raided his Drogheda home.

Thomas Baltramaitis pleaded guilty to possession of drugs for sale or supply at 19 Cedarfield Close, Drogheda, when he appeared at Dundalk Circuit Court last week.

The court heard that on November 2, 2012, gardai acting on a warrant called to the house, and found no one was home. Officers breached the front door and began a search of the house.

Weighing scales were found in the kitchen, with traces of a brown substance.

A Lithuanian passport was found belonging to the accused, along with a black folder containing his personal details.

Gardai continued to search other rooms, and in a 'shoe wardrobe' found a red biscuit box which contained a number of packages. Once opened, these contained a range of smaller packages.

Officers contacted the accused and he arrived back at his home.

After his arrest, Baltramaitis was interviewed by gardai and he accepted the box found at his home contained heroin.

He claimed he had been asked to keep the heroin and would be paid a sum of money for storing it. He said he was 'desperate for money' at the time but denied handling any of the packages.

The court heard the scales found at his home were analysed and found to contain traces of heroin.

Analysis of 16 of the packs proved they contained diamorphine, otherwise known as heroin.

The total weight of the packages combined was almost half a kilogram, and they had an estimated street value of €69,115.

He had 12 previous convictions, for possession of drugs for sale or supply for which he had received a suspended sentence, and other road traffic and public order offences.

Defence barrister Giollaiosa O Lideadha put it to the court that his client had been cooperative with gardai from the outset.

He had been in previous employment, but was not working at the time of the offence.

Mr O Lideadha said he had been 'under duress' to keep the drugs at his home. He said his client had since got himself 'back on his feet workwise.'

He added that his client was married with a four-year-old son, and it was accepted by gardai that he showed 'no signs of lavish wealth.'

In sentencing, Judge Leonie Williams noted that the accused had no addiction and had the wherewithal to hold down gainful employment. But she took into account his guilty plea and cooperation, and that he wasn't a profitmaker.

A seven-year sentence was imposed with the final three suspended for five years on condition that he entered into a €100 bond to be of good behaviour and keep the peace.

The Argus