Limerick Courthouse, Mulgrave Street
A CHINESE man who admitted having a large quantity of cannabis and more than €20,000 in cash at his home in Limerick has avoided an immediate prison sentence.
Jinlong Xue, aged 36, who has an address at Howley’s Quay, Limerick had pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis, worth around €10,000 for the purpose of sale or supply.
During a sentencing hearing last year, Garda Alan Considine said Mr Xue's apartment was searched at around 6.30pm on July 5, 2016 after confidential information was received by gardai.
He said the drugs were found in a number of vacuum-packed bags in a press in the kitchen and that other paraphernalia associated with drug dealing was also found in the house.
Incriminating texts were found on a mobile phone belonging to Mr Xue and €23,825 in cash was found in a bedroom wardrobe.
Mr Xue, who is known as Pat, told the court around €6,000 of the money was wages from a Chinese restaurant where he worked while a further €10,000 was money he had brought with him from China to Limerick.
He said he was working as a manager at a Chinese restaurant in Ennis at the time and that the remainder of the money – almost €8,000 – was profits from the restaurant which he had brought home as the company did not have a bank account.
Haibin Lin, a director of LLK Street Food Limited, opposed an application by the State for the forfeiture of that money.
Mr Lin, who is known as Stephen, told the court Mr Xue was a “satisfactory, reliable hard worker” and that he trusted him to bring the cash home “for convenience” over a short period in 2016 while the restaurant was being re-branded.
Mr Lin, who lives in Limerick, told Judge Tom O’Donnell that €7,825 of the cash which was seized at Mr Xue’s apartment “belongs to the company”.
The witness rejected assertions from John O’Sullivan, BL, prosecuting, that documents submitted by him to the court had nothing to do with the cash found or the “nice quantity of drugs” which was found at Mr Xue’s apartment.
Imposing sentence, Judge O’Donnell said the quantity of drugs seized was “not insignificant” but he noted Mr Xue had made admissions and had pleaded guilty.
He accepted he has a strong work ethic, is a family man and that he is at low risk of re-offending.
The judge imposed a three year prison sentence which he suspended for three years.
He directed that €10,000 of the cash seized be forfeited to the State and that the remainder be returned to Mr Xue and Mr Lin.