American woman caught with €260k cannabis at Dublin Airport faces five-year sentence


DUBLIN AIRPORT panoramio, tags: american cannabis - CC BY-SA

In a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court hearing this week, a young American woman, Tamia Forbes (23), was sentenced to five years in prison for bringing over €260,000 worth of cannabis into the country.

Forbes, residing on Calvert Street in Charlotte, North Carolina, admitted guilt to possession of €260k cannabis with intent to sell or supply at Dublin Airport on December 23, 2023. She has no history of prior convictions.

In pronouncing the sentence, Judge Pauline Codd noted that although Forbes played the role of a courier, there must be a deterrent against disregarding the amount of drugs being brought into the country. Judge Codd underscored the court’s responsibility to recognize the harmful effects of drugs on people with addiction and the broader ramifications of the illegal trade contributing to further criminal activity in society.

The judge handed down a headline sentence of eight years’ imprisonment. She acknowledged significant mitigating factors, including Forbes’ youth, guilty pleas, testimonials, and positive character traits. She also noted that applying the mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for this offense would be unjust, given the circumstances of the case.

Forbes’ confession and case details about €260k cannabis

In Charlotte, North Carolina, located on Calvert Street, Forbes confessed to having marijuana with the intent to sell or distribute at Dublin Airport. Garda Alex Murphy informed Garrett McCormack BL, who was prosecuting, that Forbes was apprehended upon her arrival at Dublin Airport from flights originating in the US via Zurich. Customs officials intercepted her and discovered 27 vacuum-sealed packs of cannabis in her luggage, valued at €260,000.

Forbes claimed she had been asked to transport the drugs into Ireland, believing it was legal in the country. She also mentioned her financial difficulties to the officer and noted that the suitcase was locked and she had no means to access it.

Police Officer Murphy concurred with Senior Counsel Patrick Gageby that Forbes appeared somewhat inexperienced during her cautioned interview and recounted being shot the previous June.

Factors influencing judicial sentencing

Mr. Gageby submitted multiple letters of recommendation from Forbes’ guardian, family, and Forbes herself. These letters highlighted her positive attitude, strong work ethic, and sense of responsibility. He further stated that Forbes’ mother struggled with addiction, and her father was incarcerated, requiring her to take on a parental role for her younger sibling at a young age. She had been employed as a hairdresser but became unemployed after sustaining a gunshot wound.

Counsel described her as a young woman who had overcome a challenging background, stepping up as a surrogate mother to her sister. He acknowledged certain naïve traits in her behavior and noted her struggles with the use and misuse of cannabis.

Mr. Gageby noted her exemplary behavior in prison, her admission of guilt, and her awareness of the impact of her actions. He requested the court to consider her isolation from friends and family while in custody in this country.

He described her as intelligent but lacking broad experience beyond the limited environment in which she had lived. The court was informed that she acknowledges responsibility for her actions and is endeavoring to move forward with her life.

Judge Codd recognized significant mitigating factors, including the age of the defendant, admission of guilt, supportive testimonials, and positive personal qualities. She described Forbes as a person who had made misguided decisions. Despite this, the repercussions of her actions is still something that she will have to face as she did so with the intention of selling the illegal substance.

Acknowledging these factors, she imposed a five-year sentence and suspended the final two and a half years provided that the defendant leaves Ireland upon release.

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