Lorry driver jailed for eight years after he agreed to transport €2.5m worth of cocaine
A Latvian beef farmer who was working in Ireland as an international lorry driver has been jailed for eight years after he agreed to transport over €2.5 million worth of cocaine.
Dmitrijs Venskovics (45) told gardaí through an interpreter, that a Russian man approached him and told him he would be paid between €150 and €200 to take a consignment of boxes in his lorry. He said he was told they contained cocaine and was given an Irish phone number to call when he had parked his vehicle at a certain location.
Venskovics, with a Latvian address, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to have the 36Kg of cocaine, worth €2.52 million, for sale or supply on April 24, 2020 at Maxol service station at Stafffordstown, Donabate, Co Dublin. He has no previous convictions and has been in custody since his arrest.
Judge Martin Nolan said he was satisfied that Venskovics role was that of a transporter and he didn’t own the drugs. He noted that he was due to get some financial reward for moving the cocaine.
The judge said he was taking into account that Venskovics was a good family man who worked very hard to provide for his family but he said it was a serious offence by reason of the amount of drugs involved.
Judge Nolan acknowledged that Venskovics co-operated with the garda investigation, that his level of involvement in the offence was low and that he had made admissions. He said he was going to find life in an Irish prison very difficult because of the fact he had “little or no English”.
Garda Redmond O’Leary told Karl Finnegan BL, prosecuting, said Venskovics was kept under surveillance following a garda tip off. Officers saw the boxes being moved from Venskovics’ vehicle to a Ford Transit van before they moved in to search both vehicles.
Gda O’Leary said while Venskovics own lorry was being searched, 36 Kg of cocaine was discovered in the Ford Transit van, the majority of which had been hidden in a concealed compartment.
Venskovics was arrested and admitted that he had collected the boxes but said he had never handled them.
Gda O’Leary agreed with Dominic McGinn SC, defending, that neither his client’s DNA nor fingerprints were found on the boxes.
He accepted that Venskovics had “nothing to connect him to wider criminality” and was on “the lowest rung of the ladder” in the operation.
Mr McGinn said that while Venskovics’ role was that of transporter he was “a vital cog in the big machine”.
He said he was a beef farmer and that farm was currently being cared for by members of his family. He began working as an international lorry driver as the farm was not making sufficient money to support the family.
Mr McGinn said his client was finding custody “a very difficult place” as there is no one there that he can communicate with in “a meaningful way”. He added that Venskovics is trying to learn English while in prison.