Lithuanian heroin dealer to be deported after prison
A man caught leaving a north Belfast park with wraps of heroin has been jailed for a year.
Street dealer Robertas Valincius (49), of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court to possessing a Class A drug with intent to supply.
Prosecutor Simon Jenkins told the court that in April this year police were conducting a search of Cavehill Country Park for drugs.
As officers were about to leave, the defendant emerged from the park and walked quickly past their vehicles and out onto the Antrim Road.
Mr Jenkins said police then stopped the Lithuanian national and when he was told that he was going to be searched he emptied his pockets and handed over an egg-shaped container.
When police searched the container, they found a total of 40 wraps of heroin. The drugs weighed 8.82 grams and were of 36% purity, but police put no value on them.
Judge Patricia Smyth was told that the defendant had no previous drugs record, however he had 12 previous convictions in Lithuania for various non-drug offences.
Defence barrister Michael Boyd told the court that the father-of-four had come to Northern Ireland to seek work and provide for his family back home, but the contact who had promised him a job "left him on his own with no work, no money and no accommodation".
He added: "He fell in with Lithuanian people who offered him £10 a day to sell the drugs. He felt he had no choice but to take part.
"He was not a major player, but rather at the bottom end of the chain.''
Passing sentence, Judge Smyth told the defendant: "You have a significant record in Lithuania for other offences. You were a small-time dealer here.
"I am told that once you serve this prison sentence you will be deported to Lithuania. In light of your record, that is a good thing.''
The judge said she was imposing a sentence of two years, with half to be spent in custody and half on supervised licence following his release from prison.
Judge Smyth also ordered the destruction of the seized heroin wraps.