A Romanian national living in Portlaoise convicted of selling drugs among the local Polish and Lithuanian community was last week given a suspended prison sentence.
Before the district court was Evaldas Bertulis, 10A Lake Place, Kilminchy, Portlaoise, charged with drug possession, and possession for sale or supply, at his home on April 5.
Garda Derek Barnett gave evidence that gardaí acting on a search warrant searched the defendant’s home under the Misuse of Drugs Act and discovered a quantity of cannabis valued at €2,500, along with “other drug paraphernalia”.
Bertulis was arrested and brought to Portlaoise Garda Station where he made full admissions to selling the drug locally. He had two previous convictions, for motoring offences.
Defence, Mr Declan Breen said his client was a 30-year-old Romanian who had been in Ireland since 2004. Bertulis initially moved to Cavan where he became involved in “a community heavily into drugs” and developed an acute cannabis problem, which at its height saw him spending up to €300 on the drug.
Mr Breen said that Bertulis had then been involved in a motorbike accident leaving him requiring back surgery costing €6,000. He ran up a debt and “succumbed to the temptation of dealing drugs”, largely in Portlaoise among the Polish and Lithuanian community.
Judge Catherine Staines declared that drug dealing deserves a custodial sentence, but as Bertulis had no previous convictions for drugs, had cooperated with the gardaí, entered a guilty plea, and had since dealt with his drug addiction and secured employment, she suspended a six-month sentence for two years.