Man fined over seizure of illicit tobacco from Limerick self-storage unit

David Hurley


David Hurley

A variety of tobacco brands were seized by customs officers

A variety of tobacco brands were seized by customs officers

A MAN who admitted storing a large quantity of illicit tobacco at a self-storage unit in Limerick has been fined €4,000.

Michael Mulcahy who has an address at Raheen Gardens, Raheen, was prosecuted in relation to the seizure which was made by officers from Revenue’s Customs Service during an operation on September 16, 2014.

Solicitor Aileen Mee, prosecuting, told Limerick District Court the defendant’s home was searched under warrant and that a follow-up search was conducted at the self-storage facility where a unit was being rented by the defendant under a false name.

She said a total of 46kgs of fine-cut tobacco was  located at the self-storage facility and that this represented a potential loss to the exchequer of more than €15,000 in excise duty and VAT.

At the time of the seizure, the Revenue Commissioners stated that the retail value of the tobacco seized was around €18,300.

A variety of brands including ‘Flandria’, ‘Golden Virginia’, ‘Amber Leaf’, ‘Samson’ and ‘Cutters Choice’ were all located in the storage unit during the search.

Judge Marian O’Leary was told the pre-planned operation was related to the seizure of 18kgs of similar tobacco products at Shannon Airport a number of days earlier which had put the defendant on the radar of the Customs Service.

Solicitor Darach McCarthy said his client, who is aged in his thirties, was prosecuted separately in relation to that seizure.

He said he was fined €2,500 after he pleaded guilty at Ennis District Court last October.

He said Mr Mulcahy, who previously worked as a bricklayer, had made “full and honest” admissions in relation to both seizures telling customs officers he was storing the contraband for criminal elements and “releasing it as they demanded from him”.

He said his client, who was addicted to prescription tablets around the time, had agreed to get involved as he owed a “not an insignificant amount of money”.

Judge O’Leary was told the defendant is currently in receipt of Disability Allowance as he broke his leg more than a year ago and is not able to work.

Having considered the matter, the judge imposed a €4,000 fined in relation to the Limerick offence – giving Mr Mulcahy six months to pay.

The tobacco products which were seized  have been forfeited to the State and will be destroyed in the usual manner.