Chinese national, Hua Goa, was jailed for five years for having cannabis for sale and supply at Ballyconnell. Photo: Sheila Rooney
A Chinese national who pleaded guilty to having cannabis for sale or supply was jailed for five years when he pleaded guilty to the offence. Hua Goa (otherwise Wu Wei Ding), 37 Bothar Glas, Ballyconnell, was charged with having the drug at Bothar Glas, Ballyconnell, on April 15, 2011.
Garda Bernard Smyth told Cavan Circuit Court that the house was searched under warrant. It had been adapted to grow cannabis plants and 209 plants were recovered. The defendant was found hiding in the shower of the bathroom. "He was an ordinary foot soldier and no one else was found in the house."
The electrical meter was by-passed and a number of cables ran from the fuse box into two bedrooms where the plants were growing. Clippings were taken from a number of plants, sent for analysis and confirmed as cannabis.
Initially the defendant gave his name of Wu Wei Ding and there was an issue over his identity. Over the course of two interviews on April 15 and 16 the defendant stated he was only looking after the plants. He did not think he was doing anything illegal.
In one interview, he claimed of got Ä750 and in another he was to get ten per cent of the crops from his boss. Over a two-year period, he alleged he sent Ä5,000 back home.
When he left China, Goa went to Russia where he was given a Japanese passport. He then travelled to Italy where he was given a Malaysian passport before making his way to Ireland. "The defendant didn't know his boss's name," said Gda Smyth. He was in custody since April 2011.
Cross-examined by Martin Giblin, senior counsel defending, Gda Smyth said the defendant never applied for bail. His solicitor was given his correct name prior to a special sitting of Cavan District Court on April 16. He was living rough for a while in Dublin. "He is not the head of a Triad gang."
The defendant was confined to the house and supplies were brought to him. "It was hard to judge how long he was there." It was possibly a second crop and it takes about six weeks for a crop to grow, explained Gda Smyth. In the last two years, ten such grow houses have been located in Cavan, he said.
Mr Giblin said his client found himself in bizarre circumstances. He had a gambling problem and stepped from one tragedy to another. He was used by cynical corrupt people. "He is a man of limited education and spoke no English."
His client was due to receive a percentage of the sale but it was unlikely he would. He tried to make money and send it back home. The defendant apologised and was ashamed.
Judge John O'Hagan said the grow houses were set up by professional people. Sophisticated systems were used to cultivate the plants. Every six weeks a crop was harvested and sent to the market. They get people like the defendant who were under pressure from gambling, drink or drugs to pay off their debts.
Some ten grow houses have been discovered in Cavan alone, he added. "It is not a problem limited to Cavan it is nation-wide." This was a very serious matter and the defendant knew what he was doing was wrong. There was a heavy penalty including life in prison, which reflected the seriousness of the crime.
The defendant was caught red handed. If he had been convicted by a jury the defendant would have been looking at seven years in prison. "I have to send out a message that people cannot do this and if they are caught they will be punished."
Judge O'Hagan said the defendant should be deported when the authorities deemed he had enough of his sentence completed. He back dated the sentence to April 15, 2011, and he ordered the forfeiture of all the items seized on the occasion. Leave for appeal was refused.
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|Date:||Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 9:00:51 AM|