herald

Friday 19 April 2019

Woman is charged over '€110k grow house'

'Dublin District Court heard gardai believed the house was part of a larger-scale operation run by a crime gang' (stock photo)
'Dublin District Court heard gardai believed the house was part of a larger-scale operation run by a crime gang' (stock photo)

A woman has been charged after an estimated €110,000 worth of cannabis was seized in an alleged grow house.

Aldona Svobuniene (58) is accused of possession of drugs after gardai said they found 47 plants growing under lights in a bedroom with foil-lined walls.

She was remanded in custody for a week after deferring a bail application at Dublin District Court.

Ms Svobuniene is charged with possession of cannabis with intent to sell or supply at her home in Castletown Road, Dundalk, Co Louth.

Gang

The offence is alleged to have happened last Wednesday.

Dublin District Court heard gardai believed the house was part of a larger-scale operation run by a crime gang.

The prosecuting garda objected to bail based on the seriousness of the allegations.

He said a search at the address revealed a "functioning cannabis-cultivation operation" in two bedrooms.

He said in the front bedroom there were fans, overhead lights, radiators and timers.

The walls were lined with foil and sealant to retain heat and 47 suspected cannabis plants were found growing under the lights, the court heard.

In a back bedroom, gardai found a large quantity of black bin liners containing the remains of cannabis plants.

The value of the drugs recovered was around €110,000, the prosecuting garda added.

The charge carries a potential sentence on conviction of 14 years.

It was alleged the accused was "caught red-handed" as she was in a bedroom where she appeared to be residing, with personal belongings there.

Gardai considered her a flight risk because they believed she was not ordinarily a resident and were not aware how she entered the country.

She appeared to have been here for a short time, and gardai were trying to establish her background through Europol.

Her Lithuanian personal identification document has been retained by gardai.

Ms Svobuniene initially made a bail application and her barrister, Oisin Clarke, said the alleged operation "could not have been set up by this lady on her own".

The prosecuting garda said enquiries were continuing.

Mr Clarke decided to defer the bail application and Ms Svobuniene was remanded in custody to appear again on Friday.

The defendant, who was assisted by a Lithuanian interpreter, did not address the court and has not yet indicated how she intends to plead.

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