LISTOWEL gardaí had to force their way though a barricaded door to search the home of a suspected drug dealer in the town, a court has heard.
Vincent O'Connor (30), of Upper William Street, Listowel, appeared before Judge Carroll Moran for sentencing at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court last Wednesday, having earlier pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis for sale or supply at his then home at Apartment 4, Williams Court, Upper WIlliam Street, Listowel, on March 20, 2102.
Detective Garda Shane O'Driscoll told the court that gardaí, acting on confidential information, arrived at Mr O'Connor's rented apartment with a warrant to search the premises. However, the front door was barricaded with a chair and gardaí had to force to door open to get into the apartment where they found Mr O'Connor and another man.
The Gardaí asked Mr O'Connor if there were drugs in the apartment and he handed over a bag of drugs which he took from his trousers. He denied there were any other drugs in the premises but Gardaí carried out a search and found a lunchbox containing cannabis that had been hidden behind the fridge. A set of digital weighing scales and a quantity of ziplock bags were also discovered.
In all 244 grammes of cannabis with an estimated street value of €2,930 was discovered in the apartment.
Det O'Driscoll said that Mr O'Connor, whom he described as a low level drug dealer from a good family, immediately admitted the drugs were his. The court heard that the accused man had a history of drug addiction and sold small amounts of cannabis to his friends to fund his own habit.
Under cross examination by Defence Barrister Mark Nicholas, Det O'Driscoll agreed that Mr O'Connor displayed no trappings of wealth, never gave Gardaí any problems and had not come to Garda attention since the incident before the courts.
Judge Moran also heard that Mr O'Connor has undergone treatment for his addiction and is now drug free.
Noting the early admissions and guilty plea Judge Moran imposed a two year sentence, which he suspended for three years on condition that Mr O'Connor is of good behaviour and refrains from the use of all illegal drugs.