A LIMERICK father-of-two arrested at a house in the city with over €13,000 worth of cannabis has been given a fully suspended prison sentence.
29 year-old Craig Honan of The Paddocks, Westbury, Corbally initially told Gardaí when they raided the house in Garryowen, that he was only there to look after a dog for another unidentified person.
He eventually pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis for sale or supply and also for his own use, at the house in Sarsfied Court, Garryowen, four years ago.
His sentencing hearing at Limerick Circuit Court was told that Gardaí, acting on “information from a secret source”, learned that drugs were being stored at the house on June 26, 2018.
When they raided the home, they found €13,260 worth of cannabis in plastic vacuum bags, in presses, on a table, in a sunglasses holder and a jewellery box. They also found €985 cash which they believed was “the proceeds of drug dealing”.
Honan initially told Gardaí he was at the property to mind the dog but later said he had been doing a friend a favour in receiving money for cannabis at the property.
He admitted weighing the drugs and giving “one or two people bags of weed” and that he smoked a joint.
He said he was getting paid with more cannabis.
Gardaí said they believed that Mr Honan was “in control of the property and was responsible for all of the cannabis found there”.
260 grams of cannabis, worth €13,260.87, was seized at the scene.
Honan, who the court heard occasionally worked at fixing cars, had a small number of minor convictions for possession of drugs for his own use as well as offences under the the Road Traffic Act.
Defence barrister Brian McInerney said Honan was arrested in an “intelligence-led operation” but the focus of the Garda operation was another party who was not identified in court.
He said Honan had secured a job in “traffic management” and that his employer was aware of the charges against him.
Gardai told the court Honan was “a willing participant” in selling the drugs but Mr McInerney suggested he had been “in the wrong place at the wrong time” and continues to “vehemently deny owning the drugs”.
“He is working six days a week, so there’s no question of him having idle hands, he has early starts, and I would ask the court to allow this man to continue to rehabilitate himself by allowing him to continue his work,” Mr McInerney said.
Judge Tom O’Donnell said that if people are going to get involved in this type of enterprise they have to be responsible for their actions Gardaí said he was a a willing participant and the house seemed to be awash with drugs.
He said he was impressed by a probation report which found Honan acknowledged he did wrong and made efforts to rehabilitate himself.
Honan held his head in his hands when Judge O’Donnell imposed a fully suspended 18 months sentence.