Chef sold drugs via Snapchat when work dried up due to pandemic

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A chef who sold drugs through Snapchat after his work dried up when the hospitality industry was in Covid lockdown has been given a fully suspended two-and-half-year prison sentence.

eclan Breach (25) admitted one count of possession of cannabis, worth €5,039, for sale or supply, at a property at Upper Gerald Griffin Street, Limerick city, on October 23, 2020.

Garda Eoin Murray told Limerick Circuit Criminal Court that gardaí obtained a warrant from the courts to search the address after receiving intelligence that Breach had drugs at the property.

When gardaí raided the address they found 256.997 grammes of cannabis in clear plastic wrapping and jars.

Breach initially “did a runner” but later handed himself over to gardaí and made admissions, Judge Tom O’Donnell said.

John O’Sullivan, prosecuting, said Breach was operating a Snapchat account called “Bay Genetics”, which was “dedicated to selling drugs”.

Breach “advertised” the drugs on the Snapchat page and his customers would “text” him what they required.

“Bay Genetics was an account for selling weed,” Gda Murray said.

Following his arrest, Breach agreed with gardaí he was “selling cannabis in an organised way in considerable amounts to feed his own drugs habit and to make a profit”, Mr O’Sullivan said.

Breach told gardaí he had “over a few hundred” followers on the Snapchat account.

Asked by the judge if it was “common” for people to buy and sell drugs via social media channels, Gda Murray replied: “It would be judge, not just on Snapchat though but on multiple media platforms.”

Breach, with an address at Dromroe, Rhebogue, Limerick, had 25 previous convictions, including for criminal damage, burglary, as well as one offence under the Drugs Act for possession of MDA, a psychedelic drug.

Eimear Carey, defending, said Breach was a “qualified chef and has worked most of his life” but he had “developed a significant drug habit” after suffering “a difficult upbringing”.

“He began abusing drugs at the age of 12, using cannabis, cocaine, tablets, and he has struggled with it over the years,” she said.

“He was not working in the hospitality industry during Covid and he took it upon himself to set up this business to make extra money.

“He has worked in a number of premises in Limerick, to chef-de-partie status, however he has been on sick leave since August 2021.

“He accepts publicly what he has been doing was wrong. He has suffered with his mental health difficulties since 2019 and he is taking prescribed medication for anxiety and depression which wouldn’t have been helped by his cannabis use.”

Breach has participated in a number of residential addiction programmes and “is now almost drug free”.

“He’s not attempting to say he’s the best boy in the class, but he is down to minimal cannabis use and he does not use cocaine any more,” Ms Carey said.

She provided the court with a handwritten letter of apology from Breach, and she told the judge: “He’s asking for a chance, he has worked extremely hard to rehabilitate himself.”

Judge O’Donnell said it was a “serious matter” and said Breach had had “regular customers”.

“It was a sophisticated operation, and doing a runner didn’t help either, but he eventually took responsibility for all the items of drug paraphernalia found at the scene, yet he has significant culpability,” the judge said.

He also noted Breach had encountered “a history of challenges” in his life and “at times, he has made wrong decisions, which have landed him in trouble”.

Judge O’Donnell sentenced Breach to two and half years in prison, which he fully suspended for a period of two and half years provided Breach engage with the probation services and not reoffend.

“You’re in a hair’s breath of going to prison. I don’t want to see you back here. It’s your choice,” the judge told Breach.

Breach replied: “Thank you, judge.”



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