A Killylea man’s attempt to import herbal cannabis from Canada was thwarted by the UK Border Force in January last year.
While the package never arrived, Ryan Farrell began growing his own cannabis at the home he shares with his partner and two young children, along the Main Street in the Co. Armagh village.
The 30-year-old construction worker appeared at Newry Crown Court on Thursday, for sentencing, after pleading guilty to charges of importing a controlled drug, cultivating cannabis, possession of a Class B controlled drug, and attempted possession of a Class B controlled drug.
Outlining the facts of the case, Judge Gordon Kerr QC, said that on January 12, 2021, the UK Border Force of Coventry examined a parcel sent from Toronto, Canada, addressed to Mr Speers on Main Street, Killylea.
The parcel was a box purporting to be a computer but actually contained a bag which held two resealable bags filled with herbal cannabis.
As a result of the cannabis find a warrant was executed by police seven months later on August 15.
Police attended the address on Main Street, Killylea, where the defendant was at the time – he immediately advised that he had controlled drugs and paraphernalia in the property.
Police seized a number of suspected cannabis seeds, fertiliser, humidity packs, and other drug-related items from the kitchen and bedroom. In the bottom of the building, in a wardrobe of the property was a small cultivation area; eight lamps and seven small cannabis plants.
The forensic analysis suggested that the parcel of herbal cannabis may have ultimately had a value between £5,000 and £10,000.
In interview on August 16 Farrell made a full admission to ordering the package of cannabis from Canada and confirmed that he was the intended recipient.
In the absence of a package, having failed to arrive, he started to grow cannabis in June of 2021. He stated the value of the equipment to grow a small crop cost approximately £1,000 and the drugs seized at his home cost £900.
He admitted to being a regular user, smoking between 15 to 20 joints a day.
Judge Kerr said: “I am told the police view of the defendant’s role is that the drugs ordered from Canada were solely for personal use.”
In sentencing Farrell to 15 months in prison, suspended for two years, Judge Kerr said he took into consideration a written reference from his employer which attests to his good character and being a good worker.