Farmer's son jailed after being caught with €1m of cannabis and tablets

The man was caught with 400,000 Zopiclone sedative tablets
The man was caught with 400,000 Zopiclone sedative tablets

A Kildare farmer's son caught transporting cannabis and tablets bound for the black market valued at over one million euro has been given an eight year sentence.

Haulier John Needham (31), who served 11 months in prison in France for an almost identical offence in 2011, was receiving €500 for transporting what he believed were pills.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the farm was in financial trouble and Needham wanted to help his father out. He was described by his lawyers as “easily led” and “particularly naive.”

A garda surveillance operation caught Needham as he unloaded boxes from a truck at an industrial park.

Garda recovered cannabis resin valued at €580,000 and 400,000 Zopiclone sedative tablets valued at €800,000 on the black market. He did not own the drugs which he was transporting.

Needham, of Carna, Suncroft, County Kildare, pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis at a location in Finglas on in July 2015. He also pleaded guilty to supplying a prescription only medicinal product otherwise than in accordance with marketing authorisation.

Judge Melanie Greally said it was almost inconceivable that someone who had been sanctioned in the past for a similar offence could become engaged in it again for €500.

She said he appeared to have learned little or nothing from his incarceration in France.

She said he had a respectable upbringing with decent rural roots and had a good career in haulage. She noted he had engaged in a “fulsome way” with gardai and that he regretted getting involved.

Judge Greally said he had performed a crucial role in bringing a significant amount of drugs into this country.

She imposed an eight year sentence.