€650,000 of mixed drugs stored on Bweeng farm
A 44 year old carpenter from North Cork has been jailed for five years after he pleaded guilty to possessing over €600,000 worth of drugs at his isolated farm outside Mallow.
Michael O'Brien from Bweengameil East, Bweeng pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to possessing cannabis herb, cannabis resin and cocaine, all for sale or supply at Bweengameil East, Bweeng on February 23rd last .
Det Garda Will Hosford of Mallow District Drugs Unit said gardaí obtained a search warrant for the intelligence-led operation and O'Brien was present when they executed it and he co-operated with them during the search.
Det Garda Hosford said that gardai found drugs with a combined value of €646,800 at the farm, comprising €78,000 worth of cannabis herb, €295,000 worth of cannabis resin and €273,000 worth of cocaine.
He said that gardai found the cocaine hidden in a blue barrel under a pile of manure while the cannabis herb and the cannabis resin were found in sports gear bags in abandoned cars and out-buildings on the property.
He told Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin that O'Brien, who had no previous convictions, had co-operated fully with gardai during the search operation and had entered early guilty pleas to all charges.
Defence counsel Seamus Roche SC said that O'Brien had been approached a number of times by individuals asking him to store the drugs and, because of financial pressures, he had finally succumbed to the temptation.
"This was a once-in-a-lifetime mistake - a very serious mistake," said Mr Roche as he pleaded for leniency for his client, pointing to his previous good record, co-operation with gardai and early guilty pleas.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said an aggravating factor was that O'Brien was not a drug addict and was doing this knowingly for financial reasons, knowing the damage that drugs do in society.
"He was facilitating that evil business and facilitating it with some degree endeavour, hiding it in a barrel under manure and in gear bags in various places.
"He was in employment which makes his involvement in this crime all the more difficult to understand," said Judge Ó Donnabháin as he sentenced O'Brien to seven years in jail but suspended the final two years.