Two Polish brothers who were caught with almost €3.5 million worth of cannabis and cannabis resin have been jailed for 10 years.
Judge Martin Nolan said Slawomir Syzmala (37) and Marcin Syzmala (29) were effectively renting a house in Meath as "a holding and storage hub" for the drugs.
He said the men were arrested following a “good Garda operation” and there was evidence they had packed “a huge amount of drugs” for distribution. He accepted that as Polish nationals they will have “extra difficulties” serving time in prison.
Slawomir, of The Parklands, Santry, and Marcin, of Tyrellstown Plaza, Tyrellstown, both pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three charges of having drugs for sale or supply at two different locations on April 17th, 2014. A total of €3,489,000 worth of drugs was found.
Marcin has no previous convictions. Slawomir has served a two-year jail term in Poland for burglary and has a conviction for public order from Naas District Court.
Det Garda Darragh O’Toole told Cathleen Noctor BL, prosecuting, that a surveillance operation led officers to a farmhouse, known as Knock House, in Castletown in Co Meath, where a large amount of the drugs were discovered.
The house had been rented from the owner by someone acting under an alias.
Det Garda O’Toole said a surveillance operation was initially set up by the Garda National Drugs Unit in a business park in Finglas following a tip-off.
At 10.15am, officers saw the brothers arrive at a particular unit. They remained there for about 25 minutes before driving to Castletown. They stayed there for about two hours before driving to Liffey Valley Shopping Centre.
The brothers met a man there who pulled up beside them in a people carrier. Marcin got into the back of the van he had arrived in and handed out a large packet of toilet rolls and a shopping bag to Slawomir who placed them in the back of the people carrier.
This vehicle was later stopped and searched by gardaí and almost 9kg of cannabis was found. The drugs were vacuumed packed and valued at just over €179,000.
The Syzmalas were then followed to an apartment complex in Blanchardstown, where gardaí moved in and arrested them. Neither made admissions in interviews.
The van they had been driving was searched and although a false panel had been fitted into the rear of the vehicle, no drugs were discovered.
A key to a second vehicle, a Mercedes van, was found and this vehicle was later discovered parked up at Knock House.
Det Garda O’Toole said a key for the house was found in the Mercedes van.
During a follow-up search of the building, gardaí found more than €1.6 million worth of cannabis resin in a storeroom. The drugs were found in shopping bags contained in boxes.
A further €1.62 million worth of cannabis was found in another room further down the hall. The drugs were piled up on the floor and covered with a sheet.
Det Garda O’Toole said a tick-list, a weighing scales and a vacuum packing machine were also found in the house. DNA found on gloves connected both brothers to the house.
Patrick Marrinan SC, defending Marcin Syzmala, said his client has been in Ireland for 10 years. He initially worked as a chef in a Dublin hotel but later started up his own event management firm.
He got into debt and also got involved in the “drug subculture”, which counsel said led him to this offence.
Damien Colgan SC, defending Slawomir Syzmala, said his client has a daughter with a former partner, who both live in Poland.
He said he has been doing well since his remand in custody and handed in a number of certificates from courses completed by his client.