Man who jumped from window after gardai found cannabis grow house is jailed
A Chinese man who jumped out a window two floors up after being caught cultivating cannabis with a potential value of €100,800 in a Dublin city centre apartment has been jailed for three and a half years.
Father-of-two Nianjie He (33) of Stafford House, Wolfe Tone Street, Dubliln pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to unlawfully cultivating cannabis at his premises on May 8, 2014.
He has two previous convictions from Galway Circuit Court in 2015 where he was jailed for three years for a similar offence there.
Garda Seamus Donoghue told Caroline Cummings BL, prosecuting, that the apartment block manager alerted gardaí that there was cannabis was being grown in one of the premises.
Gardaí went to the suspected apartment and detected a strong smell of cannabis. They returned that evening with a warrant and broke through the door.
Gda Donoghue said he and colleagues discovered a “sophisticated grow house” with 126 plants at various stages of development along with humidifiers, fans and weighing scales. He told Ms Cummings that none of the plants had flowering buds.
One garda noticed an open kitchen window and saw He on the ground two floors below with no shoes or jacket and with a back injury.
Gda Donoghue revealed that He had left his Chinese passport at the premises and was identified from this.
The garda said the father-of-two was co-operative in interview and described how he had been tending the plants by watering and feeding them every day.
He, who has been resident in Ireland for eight years, admitted to gardaí that he would then harvest and clip the plants for up to €11,000 a crop.
He denied buying the plants but said he would give them to the third parties who paid him.
Gda Donoghue agreed with Michael Bowman SC, defending, that most of the money his client got for cultivating the cannabis went towards offsetting a large gambling debt.
The garda agreed that He had been living among the plants and had been forced to go to Galway after the Dublin raid, as the third parties believed he owed them for the seized cannabis.
Gda Donoghue further agreed that He had co-operated and that he had been under threat of physical harm.
Mr Bowman submitted to Judge Martin Nolan that his client had been “an indentured or bonded labourer with very few alternatives”.
Judge Nolan accepted He had been forced to mind the plants for third parties but noted that he had committed similar offences in Galway while awaiting sentence on the Dublin matter.