A lorry driver who brought five boxes filled with cannabis from England to Northern Ireland was handed an 18-month sentence on Friday after appearing at Belfast Crown Court.
Samuel John White, 33, from Dromdallagan in Draperstown was described as a “courier” and will serve half his sentence in prison, with the remaining nine months spent on post-custody supervision.
The court heard the cannabis in question was just under 20 kgs, with an estimated value of around £200,000.
Crown prosecutor Rosemary Walsh said that on the weekend of April 5 and 6, 2013 White drove his lorry from Northern Ireland to England where he picked up goods to be brought back. Ms Walsh said that at some point over the weekend, he picked up five boxes which he transported to Northern Ireland in his lorry.
Upon his return, White met up with a co-accused on Belfast’s Boucher Road. He handed the five boxes to the other man before “going about his business” and taking the remainder of his load to its destination.
White was arrested that evening and he admitted bringing the cannabis from the mainland to Northern Ireland. He subsquently pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing cannabis with intent to supply.
Ms Walsh said the Crown accepted White was a courier, adding he benefitted financially “but not in line with the benefits of those in control of such operations”
A defence barrister spoke of the delay in the case, saying his client has had the case “hanging over his head” since April 2013.
The barrister also spoke of the impact White’s involvement has had on his family, telling the court “he doesn’t live the high life.”
Judge David McFarland told White that he didn’t believe the case he made to probation, namely that the boxes contained cigarettes. Telling White he accepted he acted as a courier and received a “modest reward for the job”, Judge McFarland said the amount of drugs in question was “significant” and would have provided a “large profit” for those selling it but “misery” for both users and their families.