Man gets 10 years for drug possession
A 53-year-old man caught with almost €600,000 worth of drugs, which he said he was transporting from Cork to Limerick to pay off a drugs debt owed after he was caught with another consignment, has been jailed for ten years.
Michael O’Connell from O’Malley Park, Southhill, Limerick pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to possessing 99 kilos of cannabis worth €594,000 for sale or supply on Boreenmanna Road in Cork on Sept 28th 2012.
Det Lar O’Brien told the court that gardaí had received intelligence that O’Connell from O’Malley Park, Southhill in Limerick was travelling to Cork to collect drugs and they were given details of the car he would be driving.
They watched him arrive at Mahon Point Shopping Centre where he met another man who got into O’Connell’s car and drove off with O’Connell as a passenger to Wallace’s Avenue some two miles away where O’Connell got out of the car.
The man drove to a house on the nearby Boreenmanna Road where he and another man loaded up O’Connell’s car with nine boxes and then drove back to where he had dropped off O’Connell and left the car for O’Connell to pick up.
Gardaí moved in and found that the car and the boxes contained cannabis with a street value of €594,000 and O’Connell was arrested and questioned but proved generally unco-operative, answering ‘No Comment’ to most questions.
O’Connell had a previous conviction for possessing drugs for sale or supply in 2005 for which he received a seven year sentence at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court, said Det Sgt O’Brien who said he accepted that O’Connell was simply a courier.
He agreed with defence counsel, Tom Creed that O’Connell had agreed to collect these drugs in Cork to pay off a drugs debt which the owners of that previous consignment with which he had been caught in Limerick claimed he owed them.
Judge Patrick Moran said he dreaded to think the havoc that could have been caused among young people on the streets of Limerick was it not for the intervention of the gardaí in Cork in moving in and apprehending O’Connell and his drugs consignment.
He noted that O’Connell had willingly agreed to go to Cork to collect the drugs and noting his previous conviction for possessing drugs for sale or supply, he imposed a mandatory ten year term on him backdated to September 28th 2012 when he was taken into custody.