A Dutch national who was caught carrying €200,000 worth of cannabis in Spiderman and Hannah Montana wrapping paper at Dublin airport has been given a six year sentence. Luigino Jonis (aged 33), Den Haag, Holland pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of drugs for sale and supply at the airport on March 9, 2009.
Father-of-four Jonis had flown to Dublin from Johannesburg via Istanbul with 24 kilograms of cannabis in his luggage when he was intercepted by airport customs officials.
Garda Keith Morris told Ms Elva Duffy, prosecuting, that shortly after one o’clock he arrived at the customs hall in Dublin airport where an examination of Jonis’ luggage was under way.
After passing through an x-ray machine, Jonis’ luggage was found to contain just over 24 kilogrammes of cannabis in a number of brown taped packages contained within two larger decoratively wrapped packages.
Garda Morris said that Jonis admitted that he was carrying “grass” and indicated that he had been offered between two and three thousand euro to transport drugs into the country.
He said that Jonis told gardaí that he owed over €8,000 to different banks and for his children’s education in Holland, and had agreed to smuggle the drugs as he “wanted to succeed at something”.
Jonis told gardaí that he thought he was carrying three kilograms of cannabis and was unaware that he was actually transporting a significantly larger amount.
Garda Morris told Ms Mary Rose Gearty SC, defending, that after making admissions to customs officials, Jonis became very upset and was very worried by the whole situation.
Garda Morris accepted that Jonis was financially desperate and that he was not at the very highest end of the scale of drug traffickers.
He accepted that Jonis had shown genuine remorse for his actions and was as cooperative as he could have been with both gardaí and customs officials.
Ms Gearty told the court that Jonis was a person of a very industrious nature, who had an extensive CV and had no previous convictions in his native Holland. She said that the incident painted a picture of a man who was clearly desperate and that Jonis had since done everything within his power to mitigate his circumstances.
She said that Jonis was subject to racial abuse in prison and that he was currently without the support of his family who could not travel from Holland to visit him.
Judge Tony Hunt said that he agreed that Jonis was at the lower end of the scale of drug traffickers and that he had couriered drugs out of financial desperation. However, he said that Jonis had still couriered a significant amount of cannabis.
Judge Hunt said it was unfortunate that he encountered similar situations almost every day of the week, whereby foreign nationals with financial difficulties were preyed upon by people in the higher echelons of the drugs trade.
He said he was taking into account the particular difficulties Jonis encountered serving a prison sentence in an Irish jail and imposed a six year sentence with the final two years suspended provided that Jonis departure the jurisdiction immediately upon completion of the remainder of his sentence.