Man jailed for holding cocaine worth €70,000 to pay off debt

Kyle Rafferty (23) admitting keeping drugs at house for someone to collect

A father of one who was holding cocaine in order to pay off a drug debt has been jailed for three years.

Kyle Rafferty (23) of St Ronans Crescent, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of 1kg of cocaine for sale or supply in Clondalkin on November 25th, 2019.

He has 11 previous convictions from the District Court including traffic offences, assault and public order.

Detective Garda Conor O'Sullivan told Kate Egan BL, prosecuting, that following a tip off, a house was put under Garda surveillance and Rafferty was spotted exchanging a package with another man.

Rafferty was approached by gardaí. He had dropped a paper bag and a mobile phone which were picked up and the bag was found to contain €70,000 worth of cocaine.

He admitted at the scene that there was “coke in the bag” and he said he was holding it for someone to collect. He said he kept it because he owed money but Rafferty made no further admissions during a subsequent interview.

Det Garda O'Sullivan agreed with Dean Kelly SC, defending that he has not come to Garda attention since his arrest and is "keeping away from criminality".

He accepted that Rafferty’s mother is a very “pro-social person” who holds the family together and she has been the “sturdy spine” who has since kept her son “on the straight and narrow”.

Mr Kelly said his client was in a dark place in 2019 and is attempting now to turn his life around. He is in a stable relationship and has a young daughter.

‘Real impact’

Counsel said his client’s older cousin took his own life when Rafferty was finishing primary school and his death had “a real impact” on him.

Mr Kelly said his client “stepped out of work” when he was 19 years old and began using drugs in “a chaotic, destructive and ultimately defining way leading him to the position he was found in 2019”.

Counsel described the man as a very devoted father who is trying to create a stable influence in his daughter’s life. He said he is capable and willing to get drug free and reports from a drug treatment centre concluded that Rafferty’s own determination will allow him to continue to stay clean from drugs.

Judge Martin Nolan said Rafferty was holding the drugs for third parties in the "expected alleviation" of a drug debt.

"It is a well-worn story before the court, that the court accepts is the truth," Judge Nolan said.

He accepted Rafferty’s plea of guilty, co-operation and the fact that he had a drug problem that “he has probably since dealt with”.

However, Judge Martin said he didn’t see “an outstanding feature to prevent a custodial sentence” and he jailed Rafferty for three years.