A field on the outskirts of Castleconnell village was being used by two drug dealers as a staging area to store thousands of euro worth of cannabis, a court has heard.
Alan Lysaght, aged 39, of Scanlon Park, Castleconnell and Hugo Porter, aged 40, of St Patrick’s Villas, Castleconnell pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis and cannabis resin for sale or supply on June 24, 2011.
During a sentencing hearing, Garda Declan O’Halloran of the divisional drugs unit said the defendants were arrested at around 9pm following a covert surveillance operation at Garden Hill, Castleconnell.
He told the Circuit Court a number of gardai were deployed around a field, located near bogland and a wooded area in the vicinity of Daly’s Cross.
When gardai swooped, Porter was carrying a paper bag containing nine “ounce deals” of cannabis worth €2,700.
Lysaght was arrested in a parked jeep and several items associated with drug dealing, including two mobile phones, a tick list and €1,100 in cash, were found in the car.
Garda O’Halloran said during a search of the field, an old ammunition box, containing 18 “ounce deals” of cannabis herb and eight deals of cannabis was found in the ground. He said the box had been bought by Lysaght to keep the drugs dry.
A kilogramme of cannabis resin, he added, was also found buried at the base of a tree at the edge of the field. The total value of the drugs seized was almost €18,000.
During garda interviews, Lysaght – a father of five – initially claimed he was in the area to check on horses. However, he later made full admissions telling gardai he was making between €500 and €700 profit a week: “I hold my hands up, I sell a lot of weed,” he said in one interview.
Later he added: “Ye have me on camera, I’m telling you I’m a drug dealer.”
Porter told gardai he was collecting drugs for somebody else when he was arrested.
Garda O’Halloran told John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that while Porter – a father of four - had been caught “red-handed” carrying drugs, he believed both men were involved in a joint enterprise.
“These two men were operating in tandem selling the drugs,” he said.
Michael Collins BL, representing Porter, said his client did not have any trappings of wealth while Brian McInerney BL, representing Lysaght, said his client had cooperated with gardai to “quite an extraordinary degree”.
Judge Carroll Moran adjourned the case indicating he will impose sentence next week.