British man jailed over role in €960,000 heroin seizure

Kuldip Singh (56) found guilty of aiding and abetting in drugs offence

The court heard Kuldip Singh (56) secured accommodation in a B&B in Co Dublin where heroin valued at nearly €1m was later found.

The court heard Kuldip Singh (56) secured accommodation in a B&B in Co Dublin where heroin valued at nearly €1m was later found.

 

A British man who aided and abetted another person in the possession of more than €960,000 of heroin for sale or supply has been jailed for three years.

The court heard Kuldip Singh (56) secured accommodation in a B&B in Co Dublin where the drugs were later found and acted as a translator for his co-accused. He denied possession of the drugs.

Singh, with an address at Spawell, Dublin 6 but originally from the UK, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to aiding and abetting the commission of a drugs offence at a B&B in Dublin on August 31st, 2019. He has been in custody since his arrest in 2019.

The court heard the offence occurred after Singh’s 23-year-old son was murdered in the UK in January 2018. A letter from a relative described how Singh turned to alcohol at the time and was led astray and influenced by the wrong people.

He has 17 previous convictions in the UK, seven of which are for drugs offences including a 12 year sentence imposed in 2006 for conspiring to supply a class A drug.

His co-accused was sentenced to nine years imprisonment after pleading guilty to the possession of the drugs. Singh pleaded not guilty to this charge at all stages.

He pleaded guilty to the aiding and abetting charge after it was added to the indictment.

Judge Melaine Greally noted that the aid and assistance he provided in this case was securing discrete accommodation and acting as a translation service for his co-accused. She said his presence was also an additional layer of security in relation to the drugs in the room.

She noted the large street value of the drugs involved and his history of offending.

In mitigation she took into account his guilty plea, testimonials and his letter of explanation to the court outlining the offence took place at a difficult time in his life.

She noted he had applied himself well in prison and he would be serving his sentence at a difficult time for those in custody.

Judge Greally imposed a four year sentence and suspended the final 12 months on conditions including that he leave the state within 72 hours of release and not return for a period of ten years.

Detective Garda Lorraine Brennan told Noel Devitt BL, prosecuting, that gardaí put in place a surveillance operation in the Liffey Valley Shopping centre area. They kept the movements of two vehicles under observation and later observed one of the vehicles drive to a B&B.

Two males, Singh and his co-accused, got into the car with the driver and headed in the direction of Naas. Gardaí searched the car when it stopped at a restaurant.

The search was negative but Singh, in the rear passenger seat, had a key which at the time bore no relevance to the search. The prosecution case is he later tried to discard the key which was to the room in the B & B.

Gardaí returned to Naas station but came back to the restaurant after they found the co-accused had given them false details.

On the same day gardaí also searched a room in the B&B after the owner gave them a key, they recovered 14 blocks of heroin with a street value of €961,576 from a sealed suitcase on top of a wardrobe. They found €9,000 in cash under the wardrobe in €50 notes.

Gardaí also recovered a number of phones, including two encrypted ones.

Detectives reviewed 32 days of footage from 12 cameras going back to the day the room was rented, with no one but the two men and a cleaner going in and out. The owner told them Singh had booked the room by phone and arrived on his own, paying cash in advance. The footage shows the co-accused carrying the suitcase.

Singh was interviewed by gardaí and denied knowing what was in the bag . He said he had come to Ireland to investigate a cigarette vaping business and to act as a translator for his co-accused.

He said he had not been in the room for the entire month, he had gone back to UK at one stage and returned the day before his arrest.

Det Garda Brennan agreed with Padraig Dwyer SC, defending, that only the DNA of the co-accused was found on the suitcase and CCTV shows only the co-accused carrying it.

Mr Dwyer said his client’s role had been limited to securing the premises and translation and provision of assistance by way of translation services. He said his client never accepted the possession of the drugs and had pleaded to the abetting charge at the earliest opportunity.

He said his client’s explanation was that he had spiralled out of control in alcohol consumption and became involved in this offence. He said the death of Singh’s son had nothing to do with the drugs trade and he had been just tragically murdered.