Man (19) caught with almost €70,000 worth of drugs remanded in custody

David O’Donovan pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy

The case before the Cork Circuit Criminal Court sat at the Anglesea Street Courthouse in Cork city. File photograph: Google Street View

A teenager who was caught with almost €70,000 worth of drugs has been remanded in custody by a judge who said he was struggling to see a way of not imposing a custodial sentence given the large quantities of drugs involved.

David O'Donovan (19) from Cherrywood Heights, Midleton, Co Cork pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy at Bailick, Midleton for sale or supply and to possessing cannabis for sale or supply at Cherrywood Heights, Midleton, all on April 11t,h 2020.

Det Gda Diarmuid O'Neill of the Midleton District Drugs Squad told Cork Circuit Criminal Court that O'Donovan was stopped and searched by gardaí at Bailick in Midleton on the day in question and they found cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy in two rucksacks.

The value of the cannabis was €37,720, the value of the cocaine was €10,395 and the value of the ecstasy or MDMA was €15,954 and when gardaí carried out a follow up search of Mr O’Donovan’s house they found another €4,168 worth of cannabis along with weighing scales and plastic bags.


Det Gda O’Neill said that O’Donovan – who was 18 at the time – was arrested and brought to Midleton Garda Station where he was interviewed and made full admissions in relation to the drugs which amounted to a total value of €68,237.

He confirmed that Mr O’Donovan had no previous convictions and had not come to garda attention since his arrest but he did point out that he was a large scale supplier of several different types of drugs and not just one drug when he was apprehended.

Defence counsel, Seamus Roche SC said that his client had become addicted to cannabis at the age of just 14 and began dealing to feed his own habit but he was relieved to be apprehended by gardaí and had attempted to deal with his addiction by going for treatment.

Pleading for leniency, Mr Roche said Mr O'Donovan had undertaken a three month residential treatment course at Cara Lodge in Cork where he had engaged with the services and underwent regular urine sample drug tests which showed that he was no longer using drugs.

He said his client’s parents were very supportive of his efforts to deal with his addiction and he had shown remorse and was not likely to re-offend while he believed his age allowed the court deviate from the mandatory 10 year jail term for those caught with more than €13,000 worth drugs.

Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin said it was an extraordinary amount of drugs for an 18-year-old to be caught with and while he could see significant mitigation to allow him to deviate from the mandatory 10-year jail term, the case was causing him some difficulty.

“I am struggling to find a way of not imposing a custodial sentence” said Judge Ó Donnabháin as he said the accused was fortunate that he was not finalising the matter there and then and he wanted time to consider the matter so he remanded him in custody to appear in court again on May 17th.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times