Criminal packed heroin in 'outdoor drugs factory'
A NOTORIOUS criminal who was caught packaging heroin worth €145,000 at an 'outdoor drugs factory' was last night behind bars after a jury found him guilty of drug dealing.
John McCarthy (41), of Cliona Park, Moyross, Co Limerick, was observed by undercover gardai at the drugs-packaging operation at Castle Park, Ballygrennan, Co Clare, two years ago.
Limerick Circuit Criminal Court heard that officers spotted three men -- including McCarthy -- arriving at the area known as the 'Four Walls' on the afternoon of October 15, 2010.
Heroin at the scene was being divided and bagged as gardai, under the direction of Det Insp Jim Ryan and Det Sgt Ronan McDonagh, moved in.
Known locally as 'Fat John', the father of five ran as armed officers approached. His two accomplices were arrested. McCarthy escaped through a tunnel of overgrowth, but was arrested a short time later.
Among the items found at the scene -- described to the jury as an 'outdoor drugs factory' -- were heroin; two digital weighing scales; two pairs of black woollen gloves; rolls of brown tape; bun cases; a shovel and a trowel.
When questioned, McCarthy claimed to gardai that he had been checking his horses in a field nearby.
He said cuts and scrapes on his head were not from fleeing through a wooded area, but were from a fight he had with his son and daughter after he arrived home from Spain beforehand to find that there had been a party in his home.
McCarthy denied all charges and the legal proceedings lasted nine days.
Before beginning deliberations yesterday, Judge Carroll Moran advised the jury that the case rested on the identification of McCarthy at the scene by Detective Garda Viv Downey, Detective Garda Mark McGauley and Garda Barry O'Brien.
A large number of relations and associates of McCarthy had gathered at the court throughout the afternoon while they awaited a verdict.
It took the jury a little less than two hours to find the defendant unanimously guilty of possession of heroin for sale or supply.
His younger brother, Edward 'Eds' McCarthy, left the court immediately after the guilty verdicts were returned. McCarthy remained silent as the jury's decision was read out.
Judge Moran refused a bail application on his behalf from his counsel Shane O'Callaghan and remanded McCarthy in custody to appear before the same court again on June 15.