A great-grandmother who was “preyed upon by others” will be sentenced later for storing €52,000 of cannabis and €91,000 proceeds of crime cash at her home.
Julie Nugent (63) told gardai that “foolishness, stupidity and thinking I would get a few bob at the end of it” made her agree to keep the cash and drugs.
Detective Garda David Carolan said that Nugent, who has no previous convictions, told him: “I’m physically sick I could be so stupid.”
Nugent, of The Maples, Clonshaugh Woods pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possessing almost nine kilograms of cannabis and possessing the cash, knowing it was the proceeds of crime, at her home on December 16, 2012.
Det Gda Carolan agreed with Sean Gillane SC, defending, that his client hadn’t been the target of the garda operation and that her vulnerability had been exploited by others who preyed upon her. Her husband had died nine months before the offence.
The garda told Kerida Naidoo BL, prosecuting, that he and colleagues got a search warrant for Nugent’s premises after arresting her daughter and a foreign national with €7,000 cash at another location. The daughter, Marcia Russell, will be sentenced on a money laundering charge in June.
Gardai found €91,140 cash and seven ledgers containing drug tick lists in Nugent’s wardrobe and the slabs of cannabis resin in a hot press at her home.
Nugent admitted during garda interview that she had known about the drugs in her house, despite not having looked in the bag.
She said she didn’t know how much money was in the wardrobe, but that she had been asked to store it six weeks before the garda raid.
She claimed that since her husband had died, she’d been “sitting in a little bubble” in one spot all day and would only leave the house to collect her widow’s pension.
She said the others involved in the crime had told her she would be “looked after” and that she expected to get a few hundred euro for her role.
Det Gda Carolan agreed with Mr Gillane that Nugent made full admissions at the scene. He further agreed that Nugent could be described as a “salt of the earth person” who was a million miles away from drug dealings.
Mr Gillane submitted to Judge Mary Ellen Ring that his client began to repair herself in the 90s after a troubled first marriage and met her second husband later that decade.
He submitted that she then found herself in “reduced circumstances” after this husband died and had her antidepressant medication increased to cope with the bereavement.
Counsel asked the judge to take into consideration his client’s early guilty plea and her full cooperation with gardai.
He suggested that, though it’s nobody’s right to make a serious mistake, “it’s within all of us, the capacity, to make that kind of error.”
Judge Ring noted that Nugent is the only person before the court on a drugs charge in this case and put the matter back for sentencing to July.