Saturday 10 December 2016

Former chauffeur to 'top end tourists' in Ibiza jailed after being 'caught red-handed' with €196,000 worth of drugs at Dublin Airport

Aoife Nic Ardghail

Published 12/06/2015 | 16:02

Terminal 2, Dublin Airport (stock)
Terminal 2, Dublin Airport (stock)

An aspiring DJ and former chauffeur to “top end tourists” in Ibiza has been jailed for four years for possessing over €196,000 of cannabis at Dublin Airport.

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British national Michael Coughlan (29) took responsibility for the drugs on arrest, saying: “Well I'm caught red-handed with all that weed.”

Coughlan, of Chester Road, Whitby, Ellesmere Port, affirmed signed guilty pleas at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court of possessing 9.8kg of cannabis worth €196,554 at Dublin Airport on January 22, 2015. He has no previous convictions.

Garda Mark McDaid told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, that customs officials discovered the drugs when they x-rayed Coughlan's luggage shortly after his arrival from Barcelona.

Gda McDaid agreed with Dominic McGinn SC, defending, that his client was fully co-operative and entered an early guilty plea in the district court.

The garda accepted that Coughlan had run up a €10,000 cocaine debt while working for a concierge company “at the top end of the tourist market” in Ibiza.

Mr McGinn submitted to Judge Martin Nolan that the downside of chauffeuring such clients was that Coughlan fell into the world of cocaine and gradually became dependent on the drug.

He said Coughlan spent all his money on cocaine, despite earning a good wage at the concierge firm, and was given an ultimatum by drug dealers to pay the debt in a week or do a job for them.

Counsel further submitted that his client's stepfather was willing to give his valeting business to Coughlan in the future.

He asked the judge to bear in mind that Coughlan will find it more difficult in prison as a foreign national.

Judge Nolan acknowledged that Coughlan was unlikely to re-offend and that he could deal with the matter as a “one-off fall from grace.”

He imposed a four year sentence, backdated to when Coughlan entered custody on the date of the offence.

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