Former taxi man receives three year sentence for transporting €147,800 worth of heroin
Published 09/07/2014 | 16:40
A former taxi-driver caught transporting €147,800 worth of heroin has been given a three year sentence.
Gavin Banahan (36), originally from Galway and later Offaly, was to be paid €85 for acting as driver on the drugs run.
He pleaded guilty shortly before a trial date in March to possessing heroin for sale or supply at Aldi supermarket, Belgard Road, Tallaght on November 27, 2012.
Passing sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Mary Ellen Ring said Banahan was doing well in custody and has dealt with his alcohol and drug addictions.
She suspended the final year of the sentence, who has a current address at North Circular Road, and backdated it to September 1, 2013.
Garda Ciaran Moroney said that colleagues from the Garda National Drugs Unit were on surveillance on another matter when they spotted suspicious activity in the Aldi car park.
Banahan arrived driving a taxi, parked up, and went into the supermarket with co-accused Gregory Dunne. Gda Moroney told Vincent Heneghan BL, prosecuting, that Banahan never locked the taxi.
Gardaí then saw a third co-accused, Robert Irwin, get out of a van, put something under his clothes and then place it in the boot of the taxi.
Banahan and Irwin came out of the supermarket five minutes later and drove off in the taxi before they were stopped by gardaí and arrested.
The package in the boot was analysed and found to contain heroin worth €147,800.
Banahan admitted his involvement and said he had been loaned a taxi from another man and had been offered €85 to transport the package, which he thought was €5,000 of cannabis.
Gardaí agreed that Banahan was at the lower end of the ladder in the drugs transaction and had been recruited by one of his co-accused.
Dunne (30), also of North Circular Rd, Dublin 7, was previously sentenced to three years in prison for his role.
Irwin (46), of The Garth, Kingswood Heights, Tallaght, got three years in jail with the final year suspended.
Banahan has ten previous minor convictions including public order and road traffic offences.
Paul Greene SC, defending, said his client had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse although he has since completed residential treatment for addiction.
Banahan told gardaí that a car crash had put him out of his taxi business, his home was at risk of being repossessed, he owed money to Revenue and that his relationship with his family had broken down.
The court heard Banahan underwent residential treatment for addiction but became homeless afterwards and had been sleeping in his car and then in hostels.
He has an intellectual ability lower than 94 per cent of the population, and a psychiatric report said he was prone to self harm and suicide ideation.
Judge Ring ordered him to comply with probation and welfare services for 12 months on his release from prison.