Cannabis dealer caught with forged cash avoids jail
A father-of-three who said he felt like a "hamster on a wheel" when he got involved in cannabis dealing after falling into debt has been ordered to carry out community service.
Raymond Smith (28) has avoided a six-month jail sentence for drugs offences after a judge told him to complete 240 hours of work in the community.
He was also given a suspended six-month sentence.
Smith had begun paying off his drug debtors with counterfeit cash when he was caught by gardai.
The case was heard previously at Blanchardstown District Court and came back before Judge David McHugh for a probation and community service suitability report.
After reading the report, the judge noted that it was favourable and the accused was deemed suitable.
He made the community service order and suspended the sentence for two years.
The accused pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis for sale or supply at Tor An Ri Court, Balgaddy, Lucan, on February 18 last.
Previously, the court heard gardai searched the house and found €2,658 worth of cannabis as well as €3,220 in cash and digital weighing scales.
There was also €1,060 worth of false €20 notes.
The defendant was a trained concrete pattern imprinter, his barrister Jennifer Jackson said.
He had felt like a "hamster on a wheel", Ms Jackson said.
"He was trying his best to keep his head above water and he felt the only way to keep up with the debt was to sell on small amounts of drugs to his friends."
Ms Jackson added that Smith - of Lally Road, Ballyfermot - was at the "lower end of the ladder".
"He came under severe pressure to pay people and would add the false notes to 'bolster' the payments to 'keep them off his back'," Ms Jackson said.
Smith was now "run off his feet" with work at his own company and his references showed he was a "trustworthy, polite young man".
Judge David McHugh asked Ms Jackson where Smith had got the forged notes.
"He bought them off somebody," she said.
"This experience has nipped it in the bud."