Restaurant owner seeks return of cash at centre of drugs case seized in Limerick

David Hurley

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David Hurley

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david.hurley@limerickleader.ie

Limerick Circuit Court heard the man is seeking the return of almost €8,000 in cash

Limerick Circuit Court heard the man is seeking the return of almost €8,000 in cash

THE owner of a Chinese restaurant is seeking the return of almost €8,000 in cash which was seized by gardai during a drugs raid an apartment in Limerick city.

At Limerick Circuit Court Haibin Lin, who is a director of LLK Street Food Limited, opposed an application by the State for the forfeiture of the money which was seized at the home of one of his employees.

Jinlong Xue, aged 35, who has an address at Howley’s Quay, Limerick has pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis, worth €10,934, for the purpose of sale or supply.

During a sentencing hearing, 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 parafernalia 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.

John O’Sullivan BL, instructed by state solicitor Padraig Mawe, said there was a dispute regarding the source of the money which gardai believe was the proceeds of drug dealing.

Mr Xue, who is known as Pat, told the court around €6,000 of the money was wages 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 was profits from the restaurant which he had brought home as the company did not have a bank account.

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. 

Various documents including delivery dockets and food invoices were produced which, Mr Lin submitted, showed Mr Xue was handling considerable amounts of cash associated with the business.

“Everything was in cash. He took the money home, he was the manager,” he told Pat Whyms BL adding that the restaurant did not have a bank account for a number of months in 2016.

Mr Lin, who lives in Limerick, told Judge Tom O’Donnell that €7,775 in cash which was seized at Mr Xue’s apartment “belongs to the company”. The witness rejected assertions from Mr O’Sullivan that the documents submitted by him had nothing to do with the cash found or the “nice quantity of drugs” which was found at Mr Xue’s apartment.

Judge O’Donnell reserved judgment until February.