Drugs 'mule' sentenced
A LITHUANIAN drugs mule, who was caught trying to smuggle cannabis with a street value of €175,000 through Rosslare Europort, has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Renatas Ischakovas, of Molainiu Street, 18-35 Panevzys, Lithuania, pleaded guilty before Judge Barry Hickson at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court to the possession of cannabis at the port on August 8, 2013. He also pleaded guilty to the importation of cannabis on the same occasion.
Garda Josephine Dowling told the court that after the defendant disembarked the Oscar Wilde ferry from Cherbourg, a search of his car was carried out and 11.52 kg of cannabis, with a street value of €175,000, was found concealed at the back of the rear seat. The defendant was arrested, brought to Wexford Garda Station took full responsibility for the drugs. Ischakovas, she said, is a trained psychotherapist. He had no previous convictions.
While there was a woman in the car, Garda Dowling said Ischakovas accepted sole responsibility, claiming that she knew nothing of the drugs. He also explained he had a gambling debt and ferried the drugs to pay it.
Defence counsel John Whelan said Ischakovas was very helpful and co-operative with the gardai and was ashamed of what he did. Judge Hickson sentenced the defendant to five years in prison on the first charge with a five-year concurrent prison sentence on the second charge, on condition that he leave the jurisdiction on release from prison and not return to the jurisdiction for at least 20 years.
The sentence was backdated to last August, when the defendant was taken into custody.