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Drugs 'delivery boy' caught with €65,000 cannabis haul given five year sentence

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The widowed father-of-two initially told gardaí he was moving the drugs to pay off a debt of €40,000

The widowed father-of-two initially told gardaí he was moving the drugs to pay off a debt of €40,000

The widowed father-of-two initially told gardaí he was moving the drugs to pay off a debt of €40,000

A 35-year-old drugs “delivery boy” caught with almost €65,000 of cannabis herb in 2011 has been given a five year sentence with the final two years suspended.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Gerard O'Neill has since “paid a terrible price” for his involvement in the drugs trade after being the victim of shootings in 2012 and 2013 which have left him with physical and psychological problems.

O’Neill with an address at Lower Sheriff Street, Dublin 1 pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis herb for sale or supply at three locations in City West, Saggart on February 17, 2011. The total value of the drugs found was €64,928.

Caroline Biggs SC, defending, said O’Neill had suffered “terrible consequences” as a result of his involvement but despite this he has “stood firm” and not re-offended since the date of this offence.

Judge Desmond Hogan said O’Neill was a “delivery boy and courier of some substance” who it would appear had become involved in the trade because he owed money.

He imposed a sentence of five years and suspended the final two years on strict conditions.

Detective Garda Brian Plunkett told Cormac Quinn BL, prosecuting, that gardaí observed O’Neill hand a black plastic bag containing cannabis herb valued at €18,036 over to another man who put it in the boot of his car.

When gardai announced themselves O’Neill stood up on a wheelie bin and threw a bag containing €11,900 in cash over a fence. The two men were arrested and a further amount of cannabis herb valued at €35,238 was found at the scene in a red Opel van belonging to O’Neill.

A third quantity of cannabis herb valued at €11,654 was found outside a house nearby.

O’Neill has four previous convictions including one from 2004 for a drugs offence.

Det Gda Plunkett agreed with Ms Biggs that O’Neill had suffered catastrophic physical injuries and psychological damage as a result of being a victim of the two shootings.

He agreed O’Neill was not the owner of the drugs and did not dispute that he had become involved in these offences due to a need to repay a significant drug debt.

Ms Biggs said O’Neill had a history of chronic cocaine use which led to a drug debt but is now clean of illicit substances.

She said as a result of conditions arising from the shootings he requires multiple medications and is engaging with services to aid his recovery. She said he has had to change his life dramatically.

Ms Biggs said following the second shooting in August 2013 O’Neill was in a coma for three weeks and hospitalised for a number of months.

Judge Hogan also ordered the forfeiture of the cash recovered at the scene and O’Neill’s van as well as destruction of the drugs.

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