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Father jailed for seven years for transporting €2.4m worth of cannabis

A FATHER of one has been jailed for seven years after he was caught transporting €2.4m worth of cannabis herb and storing over €400,000 worth of cocaine at this home.

Stephen Kelly (32) was caught following a large garda surveillance operation. He was spotted loading a pallet onto a van and driving it to a street in Rathcoole, close to where his co-accused, Keith Maloney, lived.

He was to be paid €1,500 for transporting the cannabis herb and €3,000 for storing the cocaine.

Kelly of Fassaugh Road, Cabra West pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the drugs for sale or supply on June 28, 2011 at Rathcoole and on July 6, 2011 at his home.

He has eight previous convictions for public order, road traffic and criminal damage offences.

Maloney (27) was sentenced to nine years with the final two suspended by Judge Patrick McCartan last March. The judge described Maloney as an active player in the distribution of drugs into the community.

Maloney of Peyton Court, Stoneylane, Rathcoole had pleaded guilty to possession of the cannabis herb for sale or supply.

Judge Martin Nolan said Kelly had been contracted to transport the drugs and must have "strongly suspected" there was a large amount involved after he had to load a pallet’s worth into the van.

He accepted that Kelly was on a lower rung of the ladder to Maloney but said a "third party thought Mr Kelly was a good candidate for their use".

"He had a decision to make and unfortunately for himself and for society he made the wrong decision," Judge Nolan said.

He further accepted that Kelly was a decent man who had become addicted to drugs, "which led him down a path that brought him here today".