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Man jailed for six years for possessing €1.7m worth of cannabis

Some 115 packets of the drug, weighing nearly 84kg, were found.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

A MAN HAS been jailed for six years for the possession of nearly €1.7 million worth of cannabis which was hidden in a consignment of vintage clothing.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard on Friday that a customs officer at Highland Shipping in Finglas examined the pallet of clothing and found it contained 115 packets of the drug weighing nearly 84kg.

Gardaí were alerted and a decision was made to repackage the clothes and allow the owner to collect them.

On 26 June 2015, Dean McCarthy drove a transit van into the business park and collected the pallet as undercover gardaí looked on. He drove the van to a pub car park where he handed the keys to another man.

McCarthy got in a Mercedes car and drove home as the other man drove the van to Balbutcher Lane in Ballymun. There, gardaí moved in on the van causing the driver to flee, leaving the van behind him.

That evening, McCarthy, who was still under surveillance, went out for dinner with his partner and was observed driving slowly by Balbutcher Lane and looking at the abandoned van. He was arrested later that night.

In interview he said he didn’t know what was in the pallet of clothing. The court heard the pallet was addressed to his partner but that she has not been charged with any offence.

Detective Garda Eamon Tighe told prosecuting counsel, Garret Baker BL, he didn’t believe McCarthy knew the pallet contained so much cannabis. He said McCarthy has 12 previous convictions for minor offences.

Partner’s debt

McCarthy (26) of Finnebar Square, Finglas pleaded guilty to possession of €1.674 million of cannabis in Finglas 26 on June 2015.

Defence counsel, Caroline Biggs SC, said McCarthy was being used by others to “do the dirty work”.

She said her client took part in the offence to pay off a debt his partner had run up. Counsel said McCarthy understood the seriousness of his offence and that his family were living a nightmare because of it.

Sentencing McCarthy to six years in jail, Judge Melanie Greally said he played a “limited though responsible role” in the offence.

She accepted he didn’t have “precise knowledge of the amount of drugs involved” and that his role was limited to collecting the drugs for onwards movement.

The judge took into account several mitigating factors including McCarthy’s early guilty plea, his lack of significant previous convictions, his good employment record and family support.

She noted he had a difficult upbringing, with his mother suffering from drug addiction and his father dying by suicide.

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About the author:

Conor Gallagher

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