Two jailed over drug smuggling

 

Two men have been jailed for eight years each for their part in an international drug smuggling operation to bring almost €5 million worth of cocaine into Ireland.

Irishman Sean O’Donovan (45) and German Richard Deutschenbaur (55) both pleaded guilty to possessing €4.8 million worth of cocaine for sale or supply on October 13th last.

Both men were caught unpacking 68 kilos of the drugs hidden in a consignment of tinned pineapples when gardaí raided a lock-up in Ballinakilla, Bartlemy, in north Cork.

Supt Mick Comyns told Cork Circuit Criminal Court the drugs had been shipped from Bolivia to Rotterdam and from there on to Cork Port where they arrived on September 28th last.

O’Donovan had a transport business, and the drugs were moved from Cork Port to O’Donovan’s lock-up in Bartlemy two days later on September 30th, he said.

Supt Comyns told the court O’Donovan, from Ballinakilla, Bartlemy, and Deutschenbaur, with an address at Alinggas, Sweden, met while in prison in The Netherlands in 1994.

They were serving sentences for separate drug offences at the time, said Supt Comyns adding Deutschenbaur also had a conviction in his native Germany for drug offences.

They met some South American businessmen in Rotterdam and were shown how to unpack the drugs and were to be paid €300,000 for bringing the drugs into Ireland, he said.

Lawyers for both accused pleaded for leniency and said that both men were under duress at the time after the failure of a oil-exploration business venture in South America.

Judge Patrick Moran said it was a serious offence and the amount and nature of the drugs was significant, but he accepted that the men undertook the venture because of financial duress. He sentenced both men to eight years in jail and backdated the sentence to October last year when they both were taken into custody after they were charged with the offence.

He refused an application by Deutschenbaur’s lawyers to suspend part of his sentence on medical grounds as he has a one in five chance of a brain tumour returning.