A former League of Ireland footballer caught with over €45,000 of cocaine and other illegal drugs has received a fully suspended sentence.
Adrian Bajgora (25) was caught in possession of €42,318 of cocaine, as well as smaller quantities of MDMA, ketamine, Zopiclone tablets and cannabis after his home was searched by gardaí.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard he committed the offence out of a “financial and moral sense of responsibility” to his family, who were under “particular financial pressure” at the time.
Bajgora, of Foxborough Grove, Lucan, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty to possession of drugs for sale or supply at his address on November 1, 2019. He has seven previous convictions for road traffic offences.
Garda Lee Keenan told Tom Neville BL, prosecuting, that on foot of surveillance being carried out at the accused's address and suspected drugs transactions being observed, gardaí obtained a search warrant for the address in Lucan, which they executed on the date in question.
Gda Keenan said that during the search, gardaí found cocaine, MDMA, Zopiclone tablets and bagging material in the accused man's bedroom. They also found mixing agent, weighing scales and further drugs, including cannabis, in two other rooms in the house.
Bajgora took responsibility for all of the drugs found by gardaí during the search. When asked what his intention was with the drugs, the accused said: “I plan to sell it all”.
The total value of all of the drugs seized by gardaí was €45,871.
Gda Keenan agreed with Dean Kelly SC, defending, that his client made it clear that the motivation to do this was financial, but that there were family circumstances in the background. He agreed the accused does not appear to have any “criminal edge”.
The garda agreed he was aware that damage had been done to the family home of the accused as a result of these drugs being taken away. He agreed that Bajgora is genuinely remorseful.
Gda Keenan agreed with counsel that his client was a talented sportsman who has played League of Ireland football
Mr Kelly said his client completed a two-year full-time soccer development programme with the FAI following the completion of his Leaving Certificate. He said his client played for the reserves and from “time to time” for the first team of Longford Town.
Counsel said that following this coming to an end, his client has worked in a series of low paid jobs. He said his client made “a spectacular and life defining error of judgement”.
Mr Kelly said his client got involved so he could make money, albeit for his family and “not to buy expensive watches”.
Judge Pauline Codd said Bajgora committed the offence out of a “financial and moral sense of responsibility” to his family. She said she took into account his family background and that they were under “particular financial pressure” at the time.
Judge Codd said his motivation was “clearly misguided” and there had to be a message that “there is no easy money in drug dealing”. She said it is an illegal trade which brings misery to so many people.
She said the accused has “a significant work history” and has been described by a previous manager as “a dependable person”. She said he was “a popular and model player” who assisted young players by way of coaching and passing on soccer skills.
The judge said she accepted from the series of testimonials handed in on his behalf that this offence was “out of character”. She said it appears to her that this is “an exceptional case”.
Judge Codd sentenced Bajgora to five years imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in its entirety on strict conditions.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.