11 Aug 2022

Man found with nearly half a million euro worth of drugs and ammunition jailed

Man found with nearly half a million euro worth of drugs and ammunition jailed

A man who was found with nearly half a million euro worth of cocaine and heroin in his bedroom has been jailed for four and a half years.

John Kelly (29) also had 17 shotgun cartridges hidden in a sock, which he told gardaí he had found while out walking and which he was planning to make fireworks with.

Kelly, with an address at Parlickstown Green, Mulhuddart, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to one count of possessing cocaine and heroin for sale or supply at his home address on September 21, 2018. Another count of possessing ammunition was taken into consideration.

He has 17 previous convictions, mostly for road traffic offences.

Garda Tara Byrne told Dara Hayes BL, prosecuting, that gardaí placed the home Kelly shared with his mother under surveillance following a confidential tip-off. When they searched the home on the day in question, they found bags of cocaine and heroin stashed in Kelly's wardrobe.

The cocaine had a street value of €65,000, while the heroin was worth €387,480. The drugs had a combined total of about €452,400, the court heard.

When arrested, Kelly made immediate admissions to gardaí. He said he had a drug debt of about €1000 and had been pressured into holding the drugs.

Garda Byrne said Kelly was “gobsmacked” when he was told the value of the drugs. “He completely broke down in interview, it was actually uncomfortable to be in the room,” Gda Byrne said. Kelly told gardaí he had believed the drugs were worth about €20,000, the court heard.

Ann-Marie Lawlor SC, defending, said her client had been in a road accident just a few weeks prior to this offence and his cannabis intake had increased as a result. She said he tried to pay back the drug dealers but was instead told to store the drugs in question.

“The prosecution accepts he was under duress,” Ms Lawlor said. “He had no option and he didn't have a notion as to the value of what he was being asked to hold.”

She urged Judge Martin Nolan to “show leniency to this young man” whom the court heard cares for his ill mother.

Judge Nolan said he accepted Kelly had been put in a difficult position. But he said Kelly “involved himself with people he knew were drug dealers and he held the drugs”.

The judge noted Garda Byrne was “sceptical” in relation to Kelly's story about where the ammunition came from.

He handed down a sentence of four and a half years.

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