A teenager who gave his address to a Snapchat contact to use for a delivery has avoided a jail term after over half a million euro in drugs arrived in a parcel.
Sean Aluebhosele (19) accepted the parcel from a garda posing as a courier in a controlled delivery.
His lawyers said he had given over his address without fully knowing what he was getting involved in and asked the court to be lenient, submitting he was in a “vulnerable, naive and stupid” category.
Aluebhosele, of Castlegate Place, Adamstown, Lucan, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of MDMA at his home on June 24, 2019. Aluebhosele, a talented footballer, was 17 years old at the time of the offence and has no previous convictions.
Judge Melanie Greally said Aluebhosele was a young man with a large amount of potential particularly in the sporting arena. She noted testimonials and letters handed into court on his behalf.
She said this was a case which presented the court with difficulties due to the amount of drugs involved. She accepted it was not done for personal profit, but said it was a serious lapse of judgement on his part for which there would be extremely serious consequences.
The judge said the circumstances were so exceptional as to come within a small category of cases in which a non-custodial sentence could be imposed due to his age, immaturity and good record.
She said ordinarily a higher sentence would be imposed but noted, he was a juvenile at the time.
The judge set a headline sentence of seven and a half years. She gave him credit for his plea, his respectable family background and his own letter outlining remorse. She took into account a favourable probation report before the court assessing him as at low risk of reoffending.
Judge Greally imposed a five year sentence which she suspended in full for five years.
Garda John Griffin told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that gardai had information from UK colleagues that a parcel coming from the Netherlands was addressed to a house in Adamstown.
A garda dressed as a courier delivered the package to Aluebhosele’s address and the accused signed for it. Gardai then executed a search warrant they had obtained prior to the delivery.
The package, which was unopened, was in the sitting room. It appeared at first sight to be a toolbox, but was found to contain MDMA with a street value of €597,900.
Aluebhosele was arrested and told gardai he had not known the package, which was addressed to his Snapchat user name rather than his real name, was coming.
He said a person had asked to use his address for a delivery and he had initially said no, but later agreed. He told gardai he had no idea what was in the package.
The garda agreed with Seamus Clarke SC, defending, that Aluebhosele comes from a decent family and that his father had encouraged him to tell the truth to gardai. He agreed Aluebhosele was in employment.
He accepted that Aluebhosele spoke about a football career and told gardai he did not take drugs.
Mr Clarke said the offence had occurred when Aluebhosele was just turned 17 years old, but a file was not sent to the DPP until 16 months later. He said if his client, who pleaded guilty at an early stage, had been sentenced as a juvenile it would have been of more benefit to him.
He submitted that Aluebhosele had gotten into a situation where he allowed his address to be used without fully knowing what was going to be involved. He said the package had not been opened and his client had been with his father who had asked him what was in a package.
He handed in a number of testimonials from acquaintances and people he knew in his community. He said Aluebhosele had hopes of becoming a professional footballer and showed great potential.
Counsel said his client works five days a week and is allowed to leave early to go to training.
He said Aluebhosele had made a “terrible, terrible mistake” and fell into a category of offenders who were “vulnerable, naïve and stupid.” He asked the court to be lenient.
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