A FATHER of five has received a five-year suspended sentence for his role in a drug smuggling operation where fish from Africa were stuffed with cannabis and sent to Ireland.
Fidel Kalala (43), who is originally from the Congo, was also caught with cannabis herb hidden in his car outside his home in north Dublin.
The court heard he was the "forwarding person" in Ireland for the drugs and at a low level in the operation.
Kalala, of Castlefield Woods, Clonsilla, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cannabis for sale or supply at his home on March 4, 2009.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring said "illegality came to Kalala rather than he went looking for it."
She accepted he was not on "the garda radar" but said he had known there were drugs in the package.
Judge Ring said a probation report prepared for the court indicated that Kalala was at "a low risk of re-offending" due to his stable employment and family background.
She took into account the fact that he had no previous convictions and has not come to garda attention since before she imposed a five-year term which she suspended in full.
Garda Ken Lyons told the court that customs officials intercepted a package which had a strong smell coming from it. On opening it they discovered several fish which were stuffed with cannabis herb.
They organised for the package to be delivered to its intended address and when Kalala's wife accepted it gardai got a search warrant for their home.
During the search they found the fish stuffed with cannabis and when Kalala returned home they found a set of car keys on his person. The keys opened the boot of a car outside which contained more herbal cannabis.
The total amount found was just over four kilograms, worth €50,000.
Kalala was arrested and stood trial last year but changed his plea to guilty halfway thought the proceedings.
Aileen Donnelly, defending, said her client was low down the ladder. She handed in references and added that Kalala is a good father to his children.