TWO Limerick men have received lengthy prison sentences for their role in the importation of more than €1m worth of drugs, which were discovered at a cottage in County Limerick almost two years ago.
Last year, Kieran Nevin, aged 37, of Oliver Plunkett Street, St Mary’s Park and Shane Ferguson, 46, of Meadowbrook, Mill Road, Corbally each pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis herb for the purpose of sale or supply on May 25, 2012.
Limerick Circuit Court was told 56kgs of the drugs were seized when gardai searched a rented cottage at Annagh Lisnagry following a surveillance operation involving gardai and members of the PSNI.
Judge Carroll Moran was told several boxes containing the drugs had been flown by UPS from Eindhoven in the Netherlands to Northern Ireland via Germany and Great Britain.
On the date of the offence, Mr Ferguson travelled from Limerick to Points Pass, near Newry in a rented van to collect the drugs.
After returning to Limerick, Ferguson met with Kieran Nevin at Ahane School before returning to Limerick city - stopping briefly at Finnegan’s Bar.
Meanwhile, Nevin drove the van to the cottage at Annagh, Lisnagry, which he had rented a number of months previously.
The court heard Nevin, who had adopted the alias “Tony Brown” had a €3,400 gambling debt and had agreed to transport the drugs on the understanding he would be left with “a few hundred in the end”.
The court heard, the drugs were then transferred from the van to the cottage and Nevin left but gardai swooped and apprehended him a short distance away. Ferguson was arrested in Limerick city around the same time.
Following his arrest, he told gardai he had collected the drugs for a friend whom he owed money to.
Imposing sentence today, Judge Carroll Moran said an aggravating factor in the case was the quantity of the drugs seized and that fact that both men had been involved in a “sophisticated operation”.
He sentenced Ferguson to seven years imprisonment and he imposed a five year sentence on Mr Nevin.
The judge said he would not impose the minimum mandatory sentence of ten years because of the defendants’ guilty pleas and their cooperation with gardai.