CASH seized as part of what a detective said was an operation targeting the sale and supply of cannabis in Limerick was actually for doing up a house, it was claimed at Limerick District Court.
Anthony Hayes, 28, of Verdant Crescent, St Mary’s Park, made an application under the Police Property Act for the return of €750 seized from him at the Maxol service station on the Dublin Road on April 24, 2011.
Det Garda David Baynham said gardai who had set up a surveillance operation saw a car pull up alongside Mr Hayes’ car in the forecourt; saw Mr Hayes get out, spend a short time in the car that had arrived and return to his own vehicle.
Moving in, officers had found one ounce of cannabis and €750 in Mr Hayes’ car and three ounces of cannabis in the other. The street value of an ounce of cannabis was around €300 at this time, Det Garda Baynham told Judge Eugene O’Kelly.
“We believe it was a handover of drugs by Mr Hayes to the occupant of the other car in return for cash and that the rest of the drugs were for him or for another transaction,” Det Garda Baynham said.
Ted McCarthy, solicitor for Mr Hayes, submitted documentation from Provident Personal Credit Company showing that both Mr Hayes and his partner had each borrowed €500 in February 2011.
Mr Hayes told Judge O’Kelly this money had been taken out to “do up the house” and given to his grandfather “because I didn’t want it in the house”. He had got the money back from his grandfather three or four days before the money was seized and had spent €250 on an ounce of cannabis he intended to share with his uncle.
Judge Eugene O’Kelly noted that Mr Hayes had said nothing about doing up a house when given the opportunity by gardai taking a statement. The loan referred to, he further noted, had been borrowed over two months earlier and it was implausible that the €750 was anything other than the proceeds of drug dealing. The cash was forfeited to the state.