Heroin dealer jailed for 14 years


A LIMERICK drug dealer caught with almost €145,000 worth of heroin at an outdoor “drug factory” has received the longest prison sentence handed down in Limerick for drug offences.

John McCarthy (41), Cliona Park, Moyross, was jailed for 14 years yesterday by Judge Carroll Moran at Limerick Circuit Court.

McCarthy was convicted by a jury of possession of heroin worth €145,000 for sale or supply on October 15th, 2010, following an eight-day trial last month.

The father of five was arrested after he was observed by undercover gardaí and members of the armed Regional Support Unit on the grounds of a derelict house behind Moyross housing estate.

During the trial, evidence was given that gardaí, acting on a tip- off, conducted an operation in an area known as the Four Walls, on the Limerick-Clare border.

Almost a kilo of heroin was recovered, along with drug-dealing paraphernalia. It was the prosecution’s case that McCarthy and two other men were observed dividing the drug for distribution.

The two others were described in court as “penny boys” or “pawns” who had been “seduced and lured” by McCarthy to take part in the bagging operation.

In evidence, Det Garda Sgt Alan Cullen said McCarthy was the owner of the drug. He said he was organising its “manipulation and proposed distribution”. Brian McCartney QC said his client, “beyond owning a few ponies”, did not lead the lavish lifestyle of a “Mr Big”. He added that McCarthy, who suffers from ill-health, had no previous convictions for drug offences.

The judge said it could be inferred that McCarthy had financial resources to buy the “large consignment” of heroin. He said he was satisfied McCarthy was acting on his own for financial gain. The the sentence was backdated to May 22nd, the date of his conviction.

Adam Llewellyn (20), Moyross, and James O’Keeffe (21), Ballynanty, both in January received four-year sentences, with the final year suspended, for their part in the drug operation.