A 36-year-old woman who needed to be seen by a gynaecologist after she concealed packets of heroin internally in a box to avoid detection by gardaí has been jailed for five years, with the last two years suspended.
Cork Circuit Criminal Court on Tuesday heard that mother-of-two Rachel Ward of William O'Brien Street, Mallow, Co Cork had five packets of heroin hidden inside her body when she was stopped by gardaí as she got off a train in Cork on February 15th of this year.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin was told that Ms Ward was disembarking from the Dublin to Cork train at Kent Station when she was detected by members of the Garda Drugs Unit and the Dog Unit.
Det Garda Paul Leady said a tin foil packet which had traces of heroin was found in her bag. Ms Ward was conveyed to Mayfield Garda station for questioning where she told gardaí that she had an ounce of heroin hidden inside her body. She produced a package. She then took out three other packages of heroin which were concealed within her body.
A decision was made to call a GP to examine Ms Ward and she was transferred to Cork University Hospital (CUH) to be admitted overnight as a precautionary measure.
A consultant gynaecologist carried out an examination on Ms Ward and she was found to have a fifth small package of heroin inside her body. The five packages had a street value of over €15,000.
Ward made certain admissions to gardaí. She claimed that she owed a criminal in Dublin about €8,000 in drug money and was selling small bags of heroin to in the region of 30 customers.
In Garda interviews she said that the previous December she had brought heroin into Cork from Dublin. This heroin, she said, had a street value of over €100,000.
Ms Ward pleaded guilty to possession of heroin for sale or supply on February 15th and also on February 20th last when she was found in a taxi on the Limerick Road with a quantity of the drug.
Garda Leahy described Ms Ward, who has 84 previous convictions, as a chronic addict. He acknowledged that she was fearful for her safety arising out of her drugs debt.
He said less than a week after the first detection she was stopped on the Limerick road after visiting the city to sell heroin.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said Ward had not co-operated fully with gardaí given the number of examinations required to find the drugs concealed on her body including an overnight stay in CUH.
“It took a certain level of determination to get this number of packages concealed internally. She was fully involved in the supply of drugs in the Cork area.”
He jailed her for five years, suspending the last two years of the sentence given the guilty plea entered in the case.