A foreign national living in Ireland has been given until midnight on Saturday to leave the country or face going to jail for seven years after he pleaded guilty to a number of offences including that he allowed his business premises be used to store drugs.
Viktoras Andriejevas, a 39-year-old Lithuanian national, who has been living in Ireland since 2006, was given two consecutive jail sentences totalling seven years by Judge Sean O'Donnabhain at Cork Circuit Criminal Court on Friday.
But Judge O Donnabhain suspended both sentences after being informed that the father of two, with an address at New Bungalow, Castleterry, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, had a ticket to leave Ireland by ferry today and would be gone by midnight.
Det Gda Eoin O'Toole of the Cork City Divisional Drugs Squad told how he had obtained a warrant to search a business premises leased by Andriejevas on February 20th 2019 at Unit 5, Carrigaline Industrial Estate where he ran a second hand clothes business VD Fashions.
Det Gda O'Toole said that €10,000 worth of cannabis herb had been found in two vacuum-packed packets by a sniffer dog during a search of the warehouse which Andriejevas had been renting for five years and using as a base to ship second hand clothes to Lithuania.
Andriejavas pleaded guilty to allowing his premises be used for the storage of drugs on that date and Judge O Donnabhain was told by Det Gda Oisin Cotter that he was out on bail at the time for another offence relating to the handling of stolen property.
Det Garda Cotter told the court that Andriejavas was caught with €63,000 worth of stolen property, including expensive outboard engines, RIB dinghies and other property stolen from various yacht clubs, in the back of a truck which was about to be transported out of the country.
Andriejevas pleaded guilty to handling stolen property on that occasion and Judge O Donnabhain noted that his guilty plea was of considerable significance as it has spared the state the expense and difficulty of a trial where there was no guarantee of a conviction.
“He allowed his premises to be used for storing of a large amount of marine parts and boats. It seems to have been a significant operation that he was aware of. These are difficult cases to prove. If the trial went on it would be a lengthy, difficult and problematic,” said Judge O Donnabhain.
“While on bail for that he was found allowing his premises to be used for storing of drugs. It is a significant factor that being on bail he allowed this level of criminality to occur on his premise. It was a knowing and deliberate action.”
Judge O Donnabhain imposed a three year sentence on Andriejevas for handling the stolen marine property and then, because he was on bail for that offence when allowing his premises to be used to store drugs, he imposed a consecutive four year term for the drugs offence.
But Judge O Donnabhain suspended both jail terms on condition that Andriejevas gave an undertaking that he would leave the jurisdiction by midnight tonight and not return for a period of ten years which the accused agreed to do.
Defence counsel, Dermot Sheehan SC said that his client became aware that his life might be in danger from criminals, making death threats against him. "If he were to leave the country it might help everybody," said Mr Sheehan.
During his bail hearing at Cork District Court in relation to the drugs charges, Andriejevas took the stand and said that he had a business where he exported second hand clothing to Lithuania and Eastern Europe which had a turnover of approximately €5,000 to €6,000 a week.