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Dublin: 7 °C Friday 10 April, 2020

Trucker who brought nearly €300,000 worth of cocaine into Dublin Port jailed for eight and a half years

The drugs were seized at Dublin Port in August 2015 as part of a joint operation involving the Revenue and the Gardai.

Dublin Port
Dublin Port

A TRUCK DRIVER who brought nearly €300,000 worth of cocaine into Dublin Port has been jailed for eight and a half years.

Judge Patricia Ryan described Aidan Conroy, 40, of Ashbrook, Clonaslee, Co Laois as a facilitator in the importation of the drugs.

The seizure was made at Dublin Port on 20 August, 2015 as part of a joint operation involving the Revenue and Garda officers acting on foot of confidential information.

Officers stopped Conroy’s freight truck after it disembarked from a ferry.

They found 4.2kg of cocaine stashed into a fire extinguisher in a compartment of the truck cab.

The court heard these drugs had an estimated street value of €294,301.

Investigators also found 6.9kg of cocaine in a bag on top of pallets in the rear of the truck’s trailer.

After a trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last month, a jury acquitted Conroy of charges relating to the trailer drugs, but convicted him of possession of the drugs in the cab.

Passing sentence today, Judge Ryan said that Conroy had the role of a courier and facilitator. She said the court also had to take into consideration the amount of drugs.

She noted the effective lack of previous convictions and his excellent work record, and cited a number of testimonials that were handed into court.

These described Conroy as an asset to his partner and family and to the wider community.

She noted that that there was evidence that Conroy had experienced personal tragedy in his life.

Finally she noted that he received a favourable letter from the prison governor.

The judge reduced a headline sentence of 12 years to eight and a half years, after taking these mitigating factors into consideration.

The sentence was backdated to 16 October last, when Conroy went into custody. 

Conroy had pleaded not guilty to possession for sale or supply of cocaine with a market value of greater than €13,000.

The offence comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment unless where there are exceptional circumstances which the court can consider.

Conroy also denied importation of cocaine and a number of charges arising out of possession of cocaine.

A group of around 20 people were present in court to support Conroy, many of whom appeared upset and were crying outside court after the sentence hearing.

In April of this year, Conroy launched a High Court action in an attempt to reclaim the truck the drugs were found in.

The High Court heard that that, in the wake of the initial drugs seizure, Conroy was served with a notice by Revenue to forfeit the truck and trailer.

The truck was, however, still subject to a hire purchase agreement that had not been completed, counsel for Conroy, Feichín McDonagh SC, told the court.

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Declan Brennan

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