Gaoth Dobhair man caught with cash and drugs haul jailed for two years

November 3, 2022

A Gaoth Dobhair man found with a stash of drugs and more than €15,000 in cash at his home has been jailed for two years.

Gardai raided the home of Alan Lynch at Park, Brinlack on suspicion that he was dealing drugs from the house.

Inside they found cash as well as €25,000 worth of cannabis during the swoop.

Lynch claimed the cash was from selling cars and also working in the bog with turf.

He was arrested and finally admitted that he was involved in the drugs trade.

The 36-year-old father of two appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court where he was charged with possession of a controlled drug, namely cannabis, for the purpose of selling or otherwise supplying it to another. He was also charged with the possession of a controlled drug, namely cannabis.

He faced a further charge of possession of a controlled drug, namely cannabis, for the purpose of selling or otherwise supplying it to another, where the aggregate market value of the said drugs amount to €13,000 or more.

He was also charged with engaging in handling or possessing property that was the proceeds of criminal conduct, namely €15,530 and £10stg cash while knowing or believing that it was the proceeds of criminal conduct.

A total of 1.247kg of cannabis, valued at €24,940, was located while €15,530 in cash was also seized. Gardaí also found four grammes of cocaine in a search of the house.

Gardaí obtained a search warrant and raided Lynch’s home on August 12, 2020. Officers detected a strong smell of cannabis upon entering the property.

Lynch and his partner were cautioned and remained in the kitchen while the rest of the house was searched.

Questioned by Counsel for the State, Ms Patricia McLaughlin BL, Detective Garda Patrick Kelly outlined the details of the search.

Gardaí located a large plastic container holding suspected cannabis. A blue bucket, also containing suspected cannabis, was found as well as five individual cannabis deals and a large plastic bag containing cannabis flavouring. A grinder and bags were found in a Quality Street box while Gardaí also seized weighing scales.

€11,400 and £10stg was found in a locker while a further €3,980 was found in the inside pocket of a suit hanging in a wardrobe. Two envelopes, containing a total of €150 in cash, and four glass containers of cannabis were also found.

Lynch admitted that all the items seized belonged to him. He told Gardaí that his partner had nothing to do with the matter.

Lynch was arrested and brought to Milford Garda Station. While Lynch admitted ownership of the cannabis, he denied that it was for the purpose of selling or otherwise supplying it.

The accused told Gardaí that €3,980 were from the sale of a car and claimed that the rest of the cash was from savings. He engaged in ‘odd jobs such as working in the bog and selling cars,’ he told Gardaí.

The court heard that Lynch has 15 previous convictions, including two for the possession of drugs.

Lynch took to the witness box and told Judge John Aylmer that he ‘acknowledges and apologises’ for his actions. Lynch told the court that he had addiction issues for a long time, but has been receiving treatment for almost two years.

He and his partner have started a family and they have a young son and daughter.

“Life has changed completely,” Lynch, a construction worker, said. “My world now revolves around my kids. I see life in a different way.”

Lynch said he was ‘ashamed’ of what he did and didn’t want his children exposed to drug-related activity.

“I just want to keep working and looking after my children. They’re all that I think about.”

Detective Garda Kelly told the court that the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) are in the process of an application to the High Court regarding the cash seized at the property.

Barrister for Lynch, Mr Colm Smyth SC, said the issue had ‘brought shame’ to his client.

“He has learned a lot from his experiences,” Mr Smyth said. “He is now the main breadwinner and he has full remorse for his actions.” Mr Smyth urged the court to take into account Lynch’s early plea, co-operation and the ‘positive steps’ he has taken.

Judge John Aylmer this was not a case where the presumptive minimum sentence of ten years in prison applied.

However, he deemed it in the mid range of such offences of sale and supply of drugs, albeit at the lower end of the scale and one which merited a sentence of six years before mitigation.

In mitigation he said that Lynch  had undergone rehab, showed clean urine samples for the past three months and was now in full-time employment in Dublin.

He was also now the father of two young children and that the probation services said he is a low risk of reoffending and even went as far as to say that little more needed to be done with Lynch.

Judge Aylmer said that these factors meant he was reducing the six year sentence to one of four years.

He said he had been asked to consider this as one of those “rare cases” that a total suspension of a jail sentence could be an option but he said that unfortunately he could not deal with it on a non-custodial basis.

Instead, he said he would “do the best I can for the accused and to acknowledge the steps he has taken” and also suspended the final two years of the four year sentence meaning Lynch will serve two years in jail.