A man said to be the 'gardener' in a major cannabis growhouse operation uncovered by Mayo Gardai appeared before Judge Rory MacCabe at the Circuit Criminal Court in Castlebar yesterday.

Richardas Selinis, a Lithuanian national, pleaded guilty at an earlier court sitting to cultivating cannabis – with a street value of €47,214 – in a rented house at Cloggernagh West, Glenhest, near Newport on July 20 last.

Mr. Selinis has been in custody since last July, following his arrest by members of the Divisional Drugs Unit.

At yesterday's sentencing hearing, evidence was given that the defendant has previous convictions for drug offences in the U.K and Germany but the amount of drugs involved was small.

Defence counsel, Diarmuid Connolly said that Selinis was what he described as 'a gardener' – the 'lowest rung' in a growhouse operation.

The court was told the defendant was remorseful and had co-operated with Gardai.

Judge MacCabe commented that the potential value of the drugs was 'substantial' and the defendant's previous criminal record suggested a long-standing involvement with drugs.

The judge imposed a two year prison sentence backdated to July 27 last when Selvinis was taken into custody. He suspended the balance of that sentence for five years.

The judge made a destruction order for the drugs seized.

 

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