A 35-year-old drug dealer who was caught bringing over €100,000 worth of heroin to Cork by train has been jailed for six years.
A court heard Gary Cambridge was found to be encouraging others to deal in heroin in the city.
He pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to a single charge of possessing over €100,000 worth of heroin and almost €2,000 worth of cocaine for sale or supply at Kent Railway Station on September 4th 2019.
On Thursday Det Garda Paul Leahy of the Cork City Divisional Drugs Squad told how gardaí received confidential information that Cambridge was trafficking large quantities of heroin from Dublin to Cork on a regular basis.
Gardaí mounted a surveillance operation and watched Cambridge getting off the Dublin to Cork train on the day in question before they moved in. He admitted when questioned that he had “gear” or heroin in his rucksack
Gardaí arrested him and searched the rucksack where they found five packets containing heroin while they found a similar bag of heroin in his pocket along with a smaller bag of cocaine.
During his first interview, Cambridge claimed to owe between €6,000 and €8,000 in a drug debt and in a later interview, he said he owed €10,000 but he was unable to name to whom he owed the money.
“He gave us the pin number for his phone and when it was examined it showed his activity from a high level of drug dealing down to street level. There was a tick-list of nicknames and aliases,” said Det Garda Leahy.
“We believed that he could have transported four to eight kilos of heroin to Cork from May 2019 until September when he was arrested. He made certain admissions but he tried to play down his involvement.”
Det Garda Leahy said among the text messages was one to a young woman whom he was encouraging to sell drugs and feed her own drug habit, telling her that he would give a good price for heroin.
Det Garda Leahy said that Cambridge, whose address was given at Mount Brosna, Mayfield, Cork, had a total of 73 previous convictions including one for drug dealing in 2011 and seven for possessing drugs for his own personal use.
Cross-examined by defence counsel, Siobhan Lankford SC, Det Garda Leahy accepted that Cambridge had a heroin addiction and had spent 18 months receiving treatment for the addiction at Coolmine Treatment Centre
He agreed that Cambridge co-operated both at Kent Railway Station when arrested and during the interview at Mayfield Garda station even though he doubted his story that he had accumulated a major drugs debt.
He said that he was basing that on the fact that Cambridge was getting a special price for the heroin found in his pocket, suggesting that he had a good rapport with his supplier in Dublin rather than being under any duress.
Ms Lankford asked Judge Helen Boyle to be as lenient as possible, pointing out that her client had co-operated at an early stage with gardaí and had entered a guilty plea at an early stage, obviating the need for a trial
“I accept he was caught red-handed but there was a quite high level of co-operation, including giving gardaí the pin number to his phone,” said Ms Lankford as she asked the judge to also take his addiction into account.
Judge Boyle said it was a very serious offence which she put at the mid to high range of severity in terms of such offences and there were a number of aggravating factors to also be considered.
These included the fact that Cambridge knew he was bringing heroin to Cork and that the trafficking was part of an ongoing activity as well as the fact that he was supplying those drugs at varying levels in Cork.
“You were also recruiting other people to - I won’t call it a line of work - that can only bring misery to others,” said Judge Boyle, adding that was also an aggravating factor in the case.
However, Judge Boyle said Cambridge’s early guilty plea and his co-operation with gardaí were mitigating factors and she believed the appropriate sentence was one of seven years with the final 12 months suspended.