Cannbis was grown in a house in Ballymahon
Three men who appeared before a recent circuit court sitting in Longford charged in connection with the cultivation of cannabis plants in Ballymahon received suspended prison sentences following a lengthy hearing into the matter.
Jacek Sroczynski and Lukasz Fratczak both of 11 Moy Close, Ballymahon, Co Longford and Pawel Mazurek, 17 Moy Close, Ballymahon, Co Longford appeared before Judge Keenan Johnson charged with the cultivation of cannabis plants in Ballymahon in 2015.
Mr Mazurek was also charged with being in possession of a firearm and ammunition at 17 Moy Close, Ballymahon on the same date.
Outlining the evidence to the court, Counsel for the State Mr John Hayden said that on August 3, 2015 gardaí executed a search warrant at 11 Moy Close, Ballymahon, Co Longford, the home of Mr Mazurek.
He said that after searching the premises, members of the force discovered a semi-automatic shotgun concealed within a white sheet in the hot press.
“There was two rounds of ammunition in the chamber and a box with 17 rounds of ammunition,” added Counsel before pointing out that a bag of white powder - later identified as speed - and a bag of cannabis were also found at the premises.
“Mr Mazurek was found on the premises and a quantity of speed was also found in his pocket.”
Meanwhile, the court went on to hear that gardaí subsequently executed a search warrant at 17 Moy Close, Ballymahon and a cannabis growhouse was located there.
Mr Sroczynski and Mr Fratczak resided at this address, the court was told.
“37 cannabis plants were found there and all of them at various stages of cultivation,” Mr Hayden continued.
“Speed was then found in the freezer and there was a weighing scales and other paraphernalia in relation to the cultivation of drugs discovered also.
“Mr Sroczynski and Mr Fratczak were subsequently arrested and taken to Longford Garda Station.”
The court went on to hear that Mr Mazurek “put his hands up” from the moment the Gardaí entered his house.
He also admitted to packing and sealing the drugs at the address.
“He has a good work record and indicated that he was using the grow house to pay of a cannabis drug debt of €10k,” Mr Hayden told Judge Johnson.
In mitigation, Counsel for Mr Mazurek, Mr Gerard Groarke said his client had been interviewed six times in respect of the matters before the court and had cooperated fully at all times.
“He said the drugs were for his own personal use and indicated that the more you buy the cheaper they became,” Counsel continued.
“The gun was left at the house by a friend of Mr Mazurek’s and he never came back to collect it.
“Mr Mazurek wrapped it in a sheet and left it in the hot press believing that was a safe place to keep it.”
Mr Groarke went on to say that his client fully accepted that he was involved in the cultivation of cannabis in Ballymahon, but had only done so in an effort to pay off his debts.
“He recently became a father and his own father suffered a stroke, so he is helping his mother to take care of his father,” Counsel added.
“His son was born in February and since that time my client has discontinued his drug use.”
Ms Flynn, meanwhile on behalf of Mr Fratczak added, “he was working in Kepac until this investigation started and then his wife went back to Poland to their two children; he too has been over and back to Poland since this happened and gardaí have no difficulty with that”.
She also pointed out to the court that Mr Fratczak had worked in Kepac since arriving in Ireland and was also a man who had a strong work ethic.
“He recently developed an addiction to cannabis and when these charges against him were brought before the courts, he lost his job,” Ms Flynn continued.
Meanwhile, Counsel for Mr Sroczynski, told the court that his client had used cannabis for pain relief after undergoing knee surgery.
During his deliberations on the matter Judge Johnson said that Mr Mazurek was the one who had taken full responsibility for the grow house.