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Woman's holiday partner hid 60k drugs in suitcase

A woman described as "gullible, naive and an easy target" has avoided jail after a man she had just gone on holiday with packed almost €60,000 of cannabis into her suitcase.

Paula Cunnea (48), who had been living in Cill Cais, Clybaun Road, Galway, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cannabis, valued at €58,786, for sale or supply at Dublin Airport on March 5, 2011.

She has since returned to live with her family in London.

Judge Martin Nolan said Cunnea obviously realised at some point that this man had put something in her suitcase and she had an option to report it to gardai.

"She took the path of least resistance and acquiesced to this man's wishes," the judge said, before he accepted that Cunnea probably had difficulty confronting people.


Judge Nolan also accepted that Cunnea's "moral culpability" was at the lowest end and she had an "exceptionally light involvement" in the offence.

He sentenced her to five years in prison, which he suspended in full on condition that she keeps the peace and is of good behaviour for five years.

Garda Mark Reay told Paul Carroll, prosecuting, that Cunnea was stopped in the airport by Customs officers. Her suitcase was searched and the cannabis was found hidden in white foam.

Cunnea said she had been on a holiday with a friend who had taken her suitcase just as they were about to leave and packed it.

Garda Reay accepted that Cunnea was a "gullible, gentle type of person" who did not benefit from the transportation of these drugs.

He further accepted that she comes from a respectable family who have been traumatised by the offence.

He agreed that there was "another individual in the background" who Cunnea had gone on holidays with and whom she had been friends wan easy target".