Trio face ‘cannabis factory’ haul case

Three men arrested in connection with the discovery of a large scale cannabis production factory at Carrigans, on the Derry/Donegal border, have pleaded guilty to drug offences at Letterkenny Circuit Court.

Neil Stewart Kloss of The Caravan, Milestone, Cummer, Tipperary; Brian Irwin of The Orchard, Croke Gardens, Thurles, Tipperary; and Neville Leech, of Pearse Park,Drogheda; were arrested by gardai at a house in Kildrum Lower, Carrigans in January 13, 2010.

Each of the men pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two charges of possession of cannabis for the purpose of sale or supply and the cultivation of the drug.

It is understood the drugs located in the haul were valued at half a million euro.

Judge Donagh McDonagh ordered each of the defendants to surrender their driving licences and social welfare documents, as these could be used as travel documents, and have them replaced with photocopies signed and dated by Gardai to “eliminate flight risk”.

Senior Counsel Desmond Murphy asked the judge to make an order that a BBC “Spotlight” documentary be made available to the prosecution prior to sentencing as it touched on “aspects of the case”.

Judge McDonagh refused this and adjourned the case for mention on October 29.

The three were released on continuing bail.