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Butcher jailed for eight years for possession of over €2.5 million in drugs

Gerard Ryan (44) told gardaí he was under pressure to pick up the drugs from a warehouse in Ashbourne.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Image: Shutterstock.com

A BUTCHER WHO was found in possession of over €2.5 million of drugs hidden amongst packets of men’s boxer shorts has been jailed for eight years.

Gerard Ryan (44) told gardaí he was under pressure to pick up the drugs from a warehouse in Ashbourne and deliver them to unknown persons because he had a drug debt of €1,500, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard. 

Ryan said he couldn’t identify the drug dealers to gardaí for fear of his family’s safety.

He pleaded guilty to possessing ketamine, MDMA and cannabis for sale or supply at his home address of Swans Nest Avenue, Kilbarrack, Dublin, on 17 July last year. He has no previous convictions.

Detective Garda Brian Foran told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that a warehouse in Ashbourne was under garda surveillance on the day in question when Ryan arrived with a van and loaded it with a pallet of boxes containing men’s underwear.

He drove it to his home, where he was arrested and the van was searched. Drugs were found inside several of the packets of boxer shorts.

MDMA worth €1.73 million was seized, along with €840,000 worth of ketamine. Cannabis worth just over €16,000 was found in a garden shed on the property.

Handing down an eight-year sentence, Judge Martin Nolan said Ryan may not have been aware of the type or value of the drugs involved, but that he knew what he was involved in.

“He made a huge misjudgment in involving himself in this arrangement,” Judge Nolan said. “For probably a small reward, he involved himself in transporting a huge amount of drugs.”

Michael Bowman SC, defending, said his client – a father of two – had cooperated with gardaí as much as possible, but that he couldn’t put his family at risk by identifying any of the individuals involved.

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He said Ryan had worked as a butcher for a number of years and bought a house in Westmeath in 2001, but his mortgage went into arrears in 2015 and he lost the house. Ryan was temporarily homeless before the family managed to rent a home in Kilbarrack under the Housing Assistant Payment (HAP) scheme, the court heard.

Mr Bowman said his client currently works a minimum wage job on a zero hour contract. He handed up a letter from this employer who described Ryan as “kind, diligent and dedicated” as well as “flexible and accommodating”.

“This is a decent, hardworking honest family man who is before the courts,” Mr Bowman said.

He said Ryan was just a “cog in the operation” of the drug-dealing enterprise and that he got involved through his drug debt and also some gambling issues. “Mr Ryan is the most expendable of those who will profit most.”

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Isabel Hayes

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