News Courts

Saturday 23 August 2014

Two time drug courier sentenced to 15 years

Fiona Ferguson and Declan Brennan

Published 06/06/2014 | 14:27

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Courts of Criminal Justice

A delivery man who became involved in cannabis trafficking operations “to put food on the table” has received a 15 year jail sentence.

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Aaron Dunne (39) was arrested while moving and storing over three million euro worth of cannabis within a year of having been caught transporting €85,764 of the drug.

He told gardai he became involved in transporting the larger amount of drugs to repay the “debt” he owed for the loss of the first cache of drugs seized by gardai. He was on bail for the first offence at this time.

Dunne, with addresses at Mount Eustace Crescent, Tyrellstown and formerly of Drogheda, Co Louth pleaded guilty to possession of the drugs for sale or supply on May 27, 2011 at North Road, Finglas and on March 30, 2012 at Killeen Court in Ballyfermot.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court imposed a ten year sentence for the second offence and ordered that it run consecutive to a prison term of five years imposed for the 2011 offence.

Taking into account Dunne’s previous good work history and lack of serious previous convictions she suspended the final three years and backdated the sentence to December last.

During a planned surveillance operation on a co-accused, gardaí observed Dunne go to the rear of the refrigerated van he was driving and take out a bag which he attempted to disguise with a tray of food. Gardaí intervened, as the other man came to collect it.

The bag held 100 slabs of cannabis resin valued at €62,850 and a further search of the van revealed a black bag refuse sack holding €22,908 of cannabis herb.

Dunne told gardaí he had leased the van and was making legitimate deliveries. He said he had bank loans to pay and had got involved in the drugs delivery “so I could put food on the table.” He said he had been told it was easy money and he would be paid €500.

The court heard that in March 3, 2012 Customs and Excise officers became suspicious about a consignment of meat delivered to Dublin Port was discovered €3,440,000 worth of cannabis resin and cannabis herb in the load.

Gardai monitored the movement of the consignment, which was picked up on March 30 and ultimately driven to Ballyfermot. Gardai saw Dunne driving two vans into a lock up there and arrested him.

Dunne said he was out of work and had credit card, loans and a wedding to pay off. He said it was his job to store the drugs and that he had not paid for the lockup.

Detective Garda Damien O’Farrell agreed with Michael O’Higgins SC, defending, that Dunne had lost his job as a consequence of the first offence and had become involved in this offence because he was told was liable for the loss of the previous drugs cache.

Mr O’Higgins handed in a large number of testimonials and references on Dunne’s behalf as well as a letter from Dunne in which he apologised profusely for the difficulties he has visited on his family and expressed the shame and embarrassment he felt as a result of his actions.

He said Dunne had a short football career in Millwall Football Club but had not been re-signed following an injury. He also played for the Under 19 Ireland team and has high level coaching qualifications.

Counsel said Dunne is volunteering with The Samaritans and The Red Cross while in custody and works in the kitchen.

Judge Ring said Dunne had been well thought of in the community and had given his time to helping others in prison. She said she was suspending the last three years because she believes he has something good to offer society when he gets out of prison.

Irish Independent

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