A man who was operating a “drug plant” which was discovered because a garda smelt cannabis coming from the house has been jailed for three years.

Philip Douglas (31) with an address at Monlea Grove, Firhouse, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession for sale of supply of cocaine at his address and at an address in Saggart on October 10, 2017.

Garda Sergeant Sarah Donaghy told John Quirke BL, prosecuting, that on the date in question gardaí went to the house in Saggart and found a significant amount of white powder.

Sgt Donaghy said that cocaine, bulking agent, weighing scales, a hydraulic press and large blocks of white powder were all discovered. The accused’s car was at the house and he was in possession of a key for the house when he was arrested.

His house was also searched and three bags of MDMA were discovered. The total value of all of the drugs discovered was €122,340.

Douglas told gardaí in interview that he was pressing the cocaine on instructions, wrapping it and dropping it to certain people. He said he was doing so to pay off a debt built up from his own use of cocaine.

Judge Cormac Quinn said it was a sophisticated operation in which the house was adopted as a coke processing plant. He said Douglas was not at the top level of the operation and was not the person who set it up.

He noted that Douglas was now drug free and accepted he was under fear or threat. He suspended the last 18 months of a four and a half year sentence on condition that Douglas engage with addiction treatment services.

Sgt Donaghy told Garnet Orange SC, defending, that the “drug plant” was discovered fortuitously.

She said she was on a routine patrol when she smelt cannabis coming from the house and people told her that a man was coming to and from the house.

Douglas has five previous convictions, including convictions for possession of drugs, speeding and intoxication in a public place. The court heard he gave up the chance to become an Australian citizen to return home and take care of his mother when she was diagnosed with cancer.

Mr Orange submitted that the people who benefited from the trade of drugs did so without handling the drugs themselves as they could manipulate drugs mules into “doing their dirty work for them”.

He said the owners of the drugs were “calling the shots” and the person “in the hot seat” left holding the drugs had no control over the type of drug or the quantity.

He said his client, a father of one, was ashamed of his actions.