A cannabis grow house hidden in a mobile home could net a man a sentence of up to three years in prison.
Gerard McGann (28), pleaded guilty to an a cultivation and possession of cannabis for the purpose of selling or supplying it before Galway Circuit Court.
Judge Rory McCabe indicated the sentence he would consider appropriate for the offences before the court, but put back finalising the case until July to decide how they would be imposed.
McGann, with an address at The Courtyard, Bride Street, Loughrea, first entered a plea last November 3, and appeared before the court again this week for sentencing.
He was charged with two counts of possession of drugs with the intent to sell or supply, one count of cultivating cannabis, and two counts of simple possession.
Garda Dermot Gibson gave evidence that on October 2 of 2019, Gardaí were executing a search warrant at a premises Lowertown, Woodford when McGann arrived in his car.
A search of his vehicle at the scene turned up a quantity of cannabis valued at €400.
Based on this Gardaí later searched a mobile home in a rural location at Alleendarra East, Woodford where they found a cannabis grow house.
While searching the mobile home Gardaí found cannabis stashed in multiple locations. The total amount seized between the car and the mobile home was 193 grams, which Garda Gibson said had a street value of €3,860.
The bedroom of the mobile was sealed, and on gaining entry Gardaí found that it had been converted into a cannabis grow house, complete with ventilation and lighting.
There were 32 cannabis plants found in the bedroom, 10 of which were in the later stage of growth. The total potential value of the plants was €25,600 Garda Gibson said.
Upon first entering the mobile home, Gardaí also encountered three dogs, an Alsatian, a Rottweiler, and a Pitbull.
The mobile home was “well concealed” on the land of a derelict farmhouse the court heard, and the grow house appeared to have been in operation for some time.
Mr Gary McDonald, defence barrister, said that the land on which the mobile home was found belonged to the family.
Mr McGann, the youngest of four siblings, is a full time carer for his father, and also helps care for his partner Mr McDonald said.
Garda Gibson agreed with the defence that McGann was cooperative when interviewed by Gardaí, and made full admissions.
He had no prior criminal convictions before this, and has not come to any Garda attention since.
While he did supply some to friends, the cannabis was primarily for McGann’s own use Mr McDonald said, adding that there was no indication that he was profiting from selling drugs.
One clean drug test result from this year was presented to the court by the defence. Mr McDonald said that his client had tried to arrange a test before Christmas, but was unable to get an appointment due to COVID.
Since stopping using cannabis McGann “has found that his life has become much better”, and he is living a healthier lifestyle Mr McDonald said.
Judge McCabe said that the circumstances of this case showed all the hallmarks of drug dealing, albeit “probably at a very low level”, and that there was no evidence that McGann was making a lot of money off this.
The guilty plea and a “reasonably positive” report from the probation services were all considered in mitigation by the judge.
The probation services indicated that McGann would be suitable for community service if the court was so inclined.
Judge McCabe said that a sentence of three years in prison would be appropriate for the Cultivation of Cannabis offence, with two years concurrent on the drug dealing charges.
However, the judge adjourned the case back to July 23 to give McGann a chance to provide further clean drug tests, and show the court that he is staying the course, before finalising sentencing.