Conviction of Brazilian rickshaw driver for drug dealing prompts warning by judge

A JUDGE has warned that cases involving the sale of drugs by rickshaw drivers has become a common theme on a daily basis, reports Tom Tuite.

A Brazilian rickshaw driver, who was caught drug dealing on a Dublin street, was given a suspended sentence and narrowly avoided being ordered to leave Ireland today.

Dublin District Court heard that on the night of November 18 last there was a garda operation targeting the sale of drugs and rickshaw drivers were under surveillance.

Ricardo Da Paz Borges, 33, pictured at court today where he pleaded guilty to drug dealing charges while he worked as a rickshaw driver. Picture: Courtpix

Judge Walsh said these offences were a common theme that has emerged in the court on a daily basis and, he added, “certain nationalities seem to be involved in this type of activity”.

He said he wanted it brought to the attention of Garda authorities.

His remark came during the sentence hearing of Ricardo Da Paz Borges, 33, with an address at Campbells Row, Portland Street North, in Dublin’s north-side, who pleaded guilty to drug dealing while he worked as a rickshaw driver.

Borges was approached by gardai at the junction of Harcourt Street and Clonmel Street in Dublin 2 after he had been talking to another person.

Gardai observed him dropping a sock which contained 14 Ecstasy tablets with an estimated street value of €140 and five small bags of cannabis worth €125, the court heard.

Borges was arrested and charged and pleaded guilty yesterday/today (thur) to unlawful possession of the drugs and having them for sale or supply. Judge Walsh noted Borges had no prior criminal convictions.

Pleading for leniency, the defence barrister said Borges came to Ireland two years ago as a student to study English. He rented the rickshaw from a garage he found out about through a friend.

Despite demands from the judge for more information about who owned the rickshaws, Borges claimed he did not know any names or have any more details about the garage.

He now works for a company which carries out on-line surveys, the court heard.

Judge Walsh said it was a very serious offence.

He imposed a six-month sentence and initially he said he was only suspending it on condition Borges leaves the country in the next seven days, which he offered to extend to 14 days if the accused needed more time to sort things out.

Counsel pleaded with him to reconsider the order telling the court that Borges partner has a child but while the defendant was not the father he helped her out with the child.

Judge Walsh let the matter stand until later in the day and when the case was called again he waived the order for Borges to leave the country.

He told him the six-month sentence was suspended on condition he keeps the peace and does not re-offend in the next two years. However, he warned the accused that he would reconsider it if he comes to the court’s attention again.

Following the judge’s comment about these type of crimes, the court sergeant told him that gardai were already aware of the problem.

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