A Polish cannabis grower living in Mountbellew, had a double barrel shotgun and an air rifle hidden in his car to protect his lucrative drugs business from a Lithuanian gang who had already stolen two kilos of the illegal harvest from him.
Gardaí who raided the home of Robert Dusza (46), at Tuam Road, Mountbellew, on April 18 last year, found €285,800 worth of cannabis plants and a bag of harvested cannabis worth €5,252, along with €10,000 in cash hidden behind a picture frame.
A follow-up search of Dusza and his car the next day revealed the two firearms, hidden under the driver’s seat, along with €1,000 cash in his wallet.
Dusza pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court in May to cultivating cannabis plants without a licence at the above address.
He pleaded guilty also to having a 12 gauge ‘Savage’ make Fox B model double barrel shotgun in his possession which had its serial number deliberately obliterated, along with a 177 (4.5mm) Calibre Norconia Premium model air rifle, at the above address on the same date.
Garda Cormac Bane told the sentence hearing last week that he and his colleagues uncovered a sophisticated cannabis growing factory when they searched Dusza’s house.
They found 351 cannabis plants, 102 of which were flowering and ready to be harvested, while the remaining 249 plants were in the early stages of growth.
The combined street value of the plants came to €285,800.
They also found a bag of harvested cannabis with a street value of €5,252 and the stash of cash hidden behind the picture.
Dusza was not at home when the Gardaí raided the place. They kept the house under surveillance and swooped when he returned there the next morning.
A search of his car revealed the two guns hidden under the driver’s seat.
Garda Bane said the serial number had been removed from the double barrel shotgun but Gardaí knew it had been stolen from a house in Co. Clare in 2009 and its owner was now deceased.
Dusza said he bought the guns from a Polish friend for his own protection because he had been previously robbed of his cannabis.
He admitted he had already sold one kilo of cannabis for €7,000 and while he had expected the crop he was growing at the time to yield three and a half kilos, a Lithuanian gang had already stolen two kilos from him.
“His intention was to cultivate three and a half kilos every month and send the money he made back to Poland,” Garda Bane explained.
Dusza, the court was told, had ten previous convictions, including one in 2010 for the cultivation of cannabis plants, for which he had received a suspended six-month sentence.
Garda Bane said the accused had been running a professional, highly organised business, supplying cannabis to dealers in the area. A ‘tick list’ of those dealers was found on the accused as well, he said.
With the help of a Polish interpreter, Dusza told the court he had been living in Ireland for eleven years. He said his marriage ended three years ago and he wanted to raise money for his family who were in debt in Poland.
He said he started drinking and taking drugs when his marriage ended but he had a very good partner now and no longer needed them.
Through the interpreter, Dusza asked Judge Rory McCabe not to jail him for the sake of his daughter.
He said he had the guns for four years and never harmed anyone. They just hung on the wall, he said.
Judge McCabe said Dusza should have thought of his daughter before cultivating and selling cannabis on an industrial scale.
The seriousness of the cultivation offence, he said, was highlighted by the possession of the firearm with the identity mark removed.
He then sentenced Dusza to seven years in prison for the cultivation offence and suspended the final two years for five years from the date of his release.
The judge took the firearms offence into account and ordered the confiscation of the money and the destruction of the plants, the drugs and the associated paraphernalia found in the house.
Waste transfer station row set for High Court showdown
A final decision on a proposed waste transfer station for Ballinasloe will be hammered out in the High Court in around three months’ time.
Galway County Council has granted licences for a waste transfer station at the old Poolboy dump site, but these have been successfully appealed by a local campaign group.
The latest licence issued by the County Council is also the subject of a judicial review and this application is now for hearing before the High Court in October.
It is widely expected that this will end the ‘toing and froing’ between the Ballinasloe Says No campaign group and Galway County Council, who are footing a substantial bill for the legal challenges so far.
The old dump in Ballinasloe closed more than 20 years ago and it had been hoped locally that the site would be rehabilitated for community use – as opposed to having another waste facility located there.
However, Galway County Council have been issuing licences to Barna Waste for a waste transfer station which has sparked fears that the town will be inundated with heavy trucks on a daily basis.
This is the third occasion that the Ballinasloe Says No campaign has challenged the issuing of the waste transfer licences by Galway County Council and are hoping that this will be the last.
The proceedings being taken by the group will ultimately result in a decision being made in the High Court.
Chairperson Dr Vincent Parsons said that they were committed to fight for health, safety and the protection of the environment around the Suck River Callows which was a Special Protection Area under EU law.
“It is shocking that Galway County Council Executive have decided to grant this permit despite the unsuitability of this site and associated risks. Thousands of objections have submitted from people in the Ballinasloe area.
“The decision by Galway County Council to grant a permit was quashed by High Court orders on two previous occasions.
“But despite all this Galway County Council have granted another permit for a major waste facility in Ballinasloe showing total disregard for the people of town and surrounding area,” he said.
Dr Parsons added that independent expert ecology, hydrology and engineering assessments and reports had confirmed the unsuitability of this site and the substantial risks to health.
Meanwhile, Senator Aisling Dolan said that the campaign was largely to prevent to hundreds of trucks passing by local schools, playgrounds, estates and Portiuncula Hospital.
“Thousands of families in Ballinasloe made submissions and attended public meetings making it clear that this is an inappropriate location for a waste transfer station
“This is a major issue for families living in Ballinasloe and we are a local community group who are fighting this case. I want to thank people for their support for the town.
“Together with our legal team, we are challenging this decision by Galway County Council to grant this permit to operate a waste transfer station,” Sen Dolan added.
Photo: Vincent Parsons (Chairperson) and Senator Aisling Dolan (PRO) of the Ballinasloe Says No campaign pictured at the gateway to the proposed waste transfer site in Poolboy, Ballinasloe.
Supply chain challenges in retail
SPONSORED CONTENT – EZ LIVING FURNITURE
There has been a huge demand for consumer products in 2020 and 2021. Covid-19 has resulted in people spending more time at home than ever before. Lockdown especially saw all non-essential workers previously confined to their homes. Investing in goods such as clothing, electronics and furniture was one of the few ways that people could spend their discretionary income from the comfort of their own homes. However, this major spike in consumer purchasing is only one of many challenges that the retail industry is currently facing.
Every retailer and consumer across the globe is being affected by rising costs and frustrating delivery delays and this, unfortunately, includes us – EZ Living Furniture. As Ireland’s most loved and well-known furniture retailer, we wanted to help our customers understand the issues the entire retail industry is currently facing and will continue to face for some time by outlining the order fulfilment process to you.
Supply Chain explained
Many suppliers (including EZ Living Furniture) source their products from overseas. When Covid-19 first struck in the Far East in March 2020, illness and a lessened workforce lead to a dramatic decrease in production. When those countries entered lockdown, supply stopped coming from the Far East entirely.
When these countries began to recover and started to exit lockdown, Europe, unfortunately, went into lockdown. Because we were unable to sell stock to the same capacity, we stopped ordering from these countries.
Customers began ordering products again, but only online as all of the physical stores in Europe were closed. It took us, and many other European businesses a number of weeks to come to terms with the new working from home arrangements and the redirection of resources towards the increase in online sales that occurred subsequently.
Product manufacturers and raw material manufacturers in Europe were still closed due to the pandemic. This meant materials and products were not being produced in Europe at all.
This caused major issues with supply and production. For instance, foam is one of many materials used to make mattresses, dining chairs, and sofas. When this is in short supply, so too is the furniture that uses foam.
Hospitals around the globe began ordering thousands of containers of PPE. With no warehouses to store these essential healthcare items, they remained in the containers at ports. This lead to congestions at ports and a shortage of shipping containers worldwide.
Shipping ports closed due to the outbreak of Covid-19 in ports.
The Suez Canal was blocked by a container vessel for six days. This put further strain on supply chains that were already burdened by the coronavirus pandemic.
We are still continuing to suffer from the lack of containers. This is causing a rise in transportation and raw material costs. Deliveries to customers are also now taking longer than usual.
What are we doing to resolve this?
Stores like us are working even harder to ensure that customers receive the same products in the same time frame and at the same price-point that was in place before the pandemic. Any solution to this supply chain problem is not perfect. Prioritising faster delivery will inevitably lead to higher costs while focusing on lowering product prices will inevitably delay delivery times.
Alternatives and long-term solutions are being explored such as supply chains in eastern Europe. However, this is a time-consuming process primarily due to quality control and logistics.
What you need to know
Already this year, we have had to increase our stock levels to try to compensate for any future delivery delays. Until now, we have been absorbing the increases in transportation costs and raw materials in order to continue to offer our customers such a wide range of furnishings.
Unfortunately, due to the prolonged nature of the pandemic, stock is going to be limited, especially during certain holiday periods. Prices may also have to be increased again in the future with smaller companies likely to be affected to an even greater degree. We want to be completely transparent with our customers and make you all aware that our promotions listed below may be the last chance for you all to purchase EZ Living Furniture items at such low prices.
So, don’t wait to buy that EZ Living Furniture Item you have been eyeing and prioritise our in-stock items. The products available in all retail stores now could sell out and take a long time to return to stock. Shipping delay issues could also mean you are waiting months to receive your items.
- The EZ Living Octoberfest Promotion – October 2021.
- The EZ Living Furniture Black Friday Sale – November 2021.
Although we are uncertain as to how long these global supply-chain issues will last, we aim to keep you updated at all times. We appreciate your patience during these unprecedented times.
For any queries regarding your order, please contact our Customer Service team by phone, email or live chat:
Monday – Friday 9:30am – 5:00pm
Phone: 0818 222 272
Customer Service Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website Enquiries Email: email@example.com
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A Moycullen win would add badly needed spice to football’s big day
Inside Track with John McIntyre
BEFORE a ball was kicked in this year’s Galway senior championship, the smart money would have been on champions Corofin, Tuam Stars, Salthill/Knocknacarra and Mountbellew/Moylough making it to the semi-finals if they managed to keep out of each other’s way on the road to the penultimate stage off the title race.
Unfortunately, for a Salthill team which, in any event, didn’t scale their expected heights this year, they came up against the champions in the quarter-finals where the Seasiders’ challenge was dismissed in convincing fashion. It was business as usual for Corofin who remain odds on to claim a record-breaking eighth consecutive title.
With Tuam Stars edging out Bearna after extra-time, a Paul Kelly goal helping Moycullen get the better of St James’, and Mountbellew/Moylough powering home against 14-man Killannin, it means that three of last year’s semi-finalists are back seeking a place in the Galway decider this weekend. Mountbellew/Moylough are the odd ones out having fallen to Corofin in the 2019 quarter-finals.
Val Daly’s troops will need the performance of the lives to overturn club’s football’s dominant power, especially as they continue to field without county player John Daly – a son of their manager. Of course, they are not without a chance and if the likes of Michael Daly, Matthew Barrett, Eoin Finnerty, Eoin Ryan and Barry McHugh hit the ground running, they could give Corofin a searching time.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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