« BackJudge says State must investigate if Tralee drugs accused was trafficked

A circuit court judge has said the State is obliged to investigate whether a man charged in connection with a massive cannabis seizure in Tralee was a victim of human trafficking.
Tralee Cannabis Grow House
Judge Tom O’Donnell made the remarks as the circuit court again adjourned the case of two Vietnamese men who were arrested at a premises in Clash in 2013.

Over 1,800 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of €1.3m were discovered following a raid by the Garda Drugs Unit.

Tran Hoa and Cao Son Nguyen, who were then aged 28 and from Vietnam, were arrested at the warehouse in Clash Industrial Estate on October 21st, 2013.

With an estimated value of €1.3million, it was one of the largest ever seizures of cannabis in Kerry.

Almost two years later, neither man has yet been sentenced and the case has been repeatedly adjourned.

Addressing a previous court sitting in April 2015, Tran Hoa appealed to Judge Tom O’Donnell to deal with the case quickly.

The court had also previously heard that Mr Tran had been brought to Ireland in a boat from Germany and was a victim of human trafficking.

Judge O’Donnell said the State has an obligation to investigate this claim and that if Mr Tran is released on bail during such an investigation, the State would be obliged to provide him with accommodation.

The court was also told that there may yet be a change of plea but Judge O’Donnell ordered that any such application or any application for bail be formally served on the State within one week.

The case was adjourned to Limerick Circuit Court on July 30th.