Men jailed for drug plants

Sat, Oct 20, 2012, 01:00

Three men were yesterday jailed for five years for cultivating cannabis with a street value of over €800,000 in a commercial growhouse operation in Co Cork.

Chinese nationals, Jin Ping Chen (26), Zhien Jie Liu (24) and Gui Yu (21), all of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis at Springfield Industrial Estate in Youghal on March 12th last contrary to section 17 of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Det Sgt Seán Leahy told Cork Circuit Criminal Court that the cannabis-growing operation at the industrial unit had 12 separate compartments with cannabis plants at various

stages of maturity being grown in four of the compartments under specialised lighting conditions.

The parts played by people in drug operations were often categorised in terms of various rungs of a ladder but in the case, the three accused were so far down the operation network, they were not on the ladder at all, he told the court.

The three men had responded to a Chinese website ad for work and came to Ireland illegally and had arrived at the industrial unit in Youghal before they realised that the work would involve the cultivation of cannabis, said Det Sgt Leahy.

They lived at the unit where they were effectively gardeners, watering the plants, moving them from one unit to another and regulating temperatures, for which they were to be paid €350 a week.