Heroin hidden inside a Kinder Egg was among the drugs seized by staff at the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise in recent months, during searches of members of the public visiting inmates of the prison.
This method of smuggling drugs into prison was revealed by gardaí at last week’s sitting of Portlaoise District Court, when several people were charged with the possession of drugs and supplying drugs into a prison or place of detention.
Pamela Ellis, with an address at 58 Greenfort Crescent, Clondalkin, Dublin, was detected by prison staff on June 14 this year. She had 7 grammes of heroin concealed inside a Kinder Egg, Inspector Aidan Farrelly told the court.
Ellis made full admissions when arrested. Insp Farrelly said she had three previous convictions, including one for drugs.
Defence solicitor, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said her client knew it was drugs she was bringing in, but she had not known the nature nor the value of the drugs in question.
Ms Fitzpatrick said that Ellis had herself suffered with a heroin addiction for a number of years, but is now on 30ml of methadone a day.
Judge Catherine Staines imposed a six-month sentence, suspended for two years.
In a separate case, Barbara Staunton, 39B Lower Main Street, Arklow, Wicklow, was caught trying to bring into the prison tablets valued at €30, and 17 grammes of cannabis resin, on August 28.
She was arrested and when searched at the garda station, diamorphine (heroin) valued at €50 was found on her person.
She had six previous convictions.
Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said that Staunton had struggled with a heroin addiction and had not been attempting to bring the heroin into the prison. The other drugs found were for her son, who was serving a sentence.
“She foolishly made the decision to bring the drugs in to help his mental well-being,” said Ms Fitzpatrick. “She’s not proud of her actions on the day.”
Ms Fitzpatrick said Staunton is now on 90ml of methadone a day.
Staunton was given a six-month sentence, suspended for two years.
Also before the court was Gene Kelly, 68 Cois Luachra, Dooradoyle, Limerick, who was previously convicted of supplying drugs into the prison on June 7, 2013. She appeared back before Judge Staines last week for the results of a probation report, and Judge Staines finalised the case by imposing a six-month sentence, suspended for two years.
Also charged was Debbie Kelly, 19 The Belfry, Cockhill, Cavan.
She was charged with the supply of a controlled drug into the Midlands Prison on August 6.
Kelly failed to appear in court and a bench warrant was issued for her arrest.
Paula O’Hare, 29 Moylaragh Rise, Balbriggan, Fingal, was charged with supply into the Midlands Prison on July 19.
Her solicitor told last week’s court that O’Hare was suffering with a mental illness at the moment and the case was adjourned.
Lisa McCarthy, 188 Pineview Gardens, Moyross, Limerick, was charged with supply into prison on April 4, 2013.
Solicitor, Mr Declan Breen requested a statements order and the case was put back to October 9.
And Jennifer Doyle, 29 Heatherwood, Bray, Wicklow, was charged with supply into the Midlands Prison on May 7.
Mr Breen requested a statements order and her case was put back to September 18.