Cork man caught bagging cannabis at kitchen table had €12k cash under mattress

Jamie McKenzie (31) was addicted to cannabis at the time, the court was told.

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Ralph Riegel

Gardaí found more than €12,000 in cash wrapped in plastic and hidden under a bedroom mattress after searching the property of a man caught bagging €15,000 worth of cannabis at his kitchen stable just 24 hours before New Year's Eve in 2019.

Jamie McKenzie (31) of Kingswood, Waterpark, Carrigaline, Co Cork, was handed a suspended three year prison sentence and will also serve 200 hours of community service as the sentencing judge said she would give him “a chance to give something back to the community.”

McKenzie pleaded guilty to having the cannabis for sale or supply at his home on December 30, 2019.

He also admitted having cash at his property which was the proceeds of crime.

Det Garda Patrick O’Sullivan told Cork Circuit Criminal Court that a warrant was obtained to enable gardaí to search the home of McKenzie.

He told the court that when gardaí entered the property, Jamie McKenzie was sitting at the kitchen table weighing out cannabis and bagging it.

“Cannabis was found in bags at various places in the kitchen. (Some) €12,250 in cash was wrapped in plastic under the mattress in the main bedroom."

McKenzie and another man were both arrested.

The defendant made full admissions to gardaí and insisted that the other man had no involvement in the criminal activity.

He claimed to gardaí that the cash discovered was from an insurance claim which was paid out years earlier.

However McKenzie was unable to furnish details to officers to prove his claim.

Defence counsel, Emmet Boyle, explained to Judge Catherine Staines that his client was addicted to cannabis at the time.

He said that McKenzie had not come to the attention of gardaí since his arrest four years ago.

“He (McKenzie) is not on the garda radar. He was a habitual user. He had a debt at the time,” he said.

However, Det Garda O’Sullivan said that the explanation that McKenzie was drug dealing to pay off a drug debt was not consistent with the finding of thousands of euro cash under his mattress.

Judge Staines said that McKenzie appeared to be making a valiant attempt to change his life.

She noted that he had made full admissions to gardai whilst co-operating with them fully.

McKenzie also acknowledged that he was responsible for the drug dealing and did not attempt to implicate the other person in the property.

“I am going to give you (McKenzie) a chance to give something back to the community," Judge Staines ruled.

She imposed a fully suspended three year sentence on McKenzie and ordered him to carry out 200 hours of community service.

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