Irish student found with almost €18,000 worth of ecstasy tablets avoids jail term
A Dublin student has been given a four year suspended sentence after he was paid €300 to transport and hold almost 1,800 ecstasy tablets.
Cian Johnston (19), of Pembroke Cottages, Ringsend, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the tablets on August 28, 2014.
He was found with 980 ecstasy tablets on his person and a further 802 tablets at his home The drugs were worth an estimated €17,820.
Garda Eoghan Byrne told Garrett McCormack BL, prosecuting, that he and his colleague were on patrol in Ringsend when they spotted two men acting suspiciously.
Gda Byrne said that while one man headed off in another direction, they followed Johnston, caught up with him and searched his backpack.
He was found with 10 zip lock bags, which contained approximately 980 ecstasy tablets.
The gardaí then searched Johnston’s home where they found a bag with a further 802 ecstasy tablets.
Johnston told gardaí that he had been instructed to deliver the tablets to the Luas stop at the Point Theatre. He was to paid €300 for “minding and transporting” the drugs.
Gda Byrne agreed with Michael Bowman SC, defending, that Johnston was effectively working as a courier and he became of interest to the gardaí because of the company he was keeping.
He accepted that Johnston was clearly nervous when gardaí approached him and was sweating. He was reluctant to name the people he was holding the drugs for because he was “in fear of retribution both for himself and his family”.
Mr Bowman told Judge Martin Nolan that Johnston, who is a student at Ballsbridge College, has no previous convictions, had not intended to use the drugs himself and was “transporting and minding them” as he needed the money.
Mr Bowman asked Judge Nolan to take into account the fact that Johnston was 18 years old at the time and that he cooperated fully with gardaí throughout the investigation.
Mr Bowman also stated that his client came from “a law-abiding family”, and that his father was “a serious man”, who was “both furious and mortified about what he has brought to the family’s door”.
Judge Nolan said that Johnston “was not a veteran in dealing with the gardaí” and had entered into some arrangement with the unnamed individuals.
“His reward for this hazardous pastime was €300,” Judge Nolan added.
He handed down a four year sentence, which he suspended in full and warned Johnston that if he gets in trouble with the law in the next four years, there is every possibility that he will go to prison.