Man described as ‘significant drugs wholesaler’ jailed for 17 years

Garrett Hill ‘a cog in a wheel’ that destroys families and communities, judge says

A man described by gardaí as ‘a very significant drugs wholesaler’ has been jailed for a total of 17 years after pleading guilty to a series of offences including possessing heroin, cocaine and cannabis for sale or supply.

A man described by gardaí as ‘a very significant drugs wholesaler’ has been jailed for a total of 17 years after pleading guilty to a series of offences including possessing heroin, cocaine and cannabis for sale or supply.

 

A man described by gardaí as “a very significant drugs wholesaler” has been jailed for a total of 17 years after pleading guilty to a series of offences including possessing heroin, cocaine and cannabis for sale or supply.

Garrett Hill (38), of Gleann na Rí, Tower, Blarney, Co Cork, pleaded guilty to 10 separate charges which related to two separate dates and three separate locations when he appeared at Cork Circuit Criminal Court on Thursday for sentencing.

Judge Brian O’Callaghan said Hill had shown no remorse and he imposed an initial sentence of seven years for offences committed in 2016 followed by a consecutive 10 year term for offences committed in 2017 while on bail for the first offences.

Det Garda Ian Cahalane told the court that the Cork City Divisional Drugs Squad received confidential information that Hill was to receive a consignment of drugs on August 24th, 2016 and they mounted a surveillance operation on an apartment at the Blarney Shopping Centre.

Suitcase

They saw Hill emerge with a suitcase and Paul O’Rourke emerge with a rucksack. They followed the men as they drove to Cork Builders Providers in Togher where they watched Hill take a package and get into a van driven by a Nicholas Crowley.

Gardaí moved to intercept them and found the package contained heroin with a street value of €7,713 before carrying out a follow-up search of O’Rourke’s apartment in Blarney where they found heroin worth €96,586. The cases of Crowley and O’Rourke have been dealt with separately by the courts.

When Hill was out on bail gardaí mounted another operation against him on January 12th, 2017 and two undercover officers hiding in his back garden observed him weighing out cannabis in his house. He removed the rubber gloves he was wearing when he went to answer the door to garda colleagues who were calling to check to see if he was observing a curfew imposed on him as part of his bail conditions.

Det Garda Cahalane said gardaí then searched the property and found €9,538 worth of cannabis, €2,537 worth of heroin and €833 worth of cocaine in the house where Hill lived with his wife and children, who were upstairs asleep.

Questioned by Judge O’Callaghan, Det Garda Cahalane said Hill was “a very significant drugs wholesaler” and he did not suffer from any drugs addiction nor he was under any pressure to pay off drug debts. Hill was solely involved in drug dealing for the profits he could make, he said.

Previous convictions

He said Hill, a native of Drogheda, Co Louth, had a previous Section 15 conviction for drug dealing which had been dealt with at district court level as well as three Section 3 convictions for simple possession as well convictions for assault and possession of stolen property.

He had not co-operated with gardaí responding No comment during his various interviews following his arrests in both 2016 and 2017, said Det Garda Cahalane, adding gardai also seized €4,735 in cash during the raid on his home which they believe were the proceeds of drug dealing.

He said while the value of the drugs in the 2016 seizure was greater, the 2017 offences were more grave as they happened not only while on bail but also while under curfew. He said preparing drugs when he knew gardaí would call to check on him displayed “a mind-boggling disdain”.

“This man is a cog in a particular wheel. It is a wheel of death, a wheel of destruction. It destroys lives, it destroys families and it destroys communities and Mr Hill is no fool, he knows very well the consequences of his actions. He showed total disregard for these consequences,” he said.

Defence counsel Anthony Sammon SC said his client had been on remand in prison since January 2017 and in that time he had been a model prisoner and undertaken several educational courses in a attempt to turn his life around.

However, Judge O’Callaghan said he was bound by the legislation to impose consecutive sentencese given the second offence happened while on bail for the first offences.