Tuesday 20 February 2018

Father-of-four caught with over €3m worth of drugs, three sub-machine guns and two pistols sentenced to eight years in prison

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

Sonya McLean

A father of four who was caught with over €3 million worth of drugs, three sub-machine guns and two pistols has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

Jason Rowe (40) was also found with two varieties of ammunition when gardaí searched his house and a unit he was leasing in a Dublin industrial estate.

Rowe of Oranmore Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin had pleaded guilty at District Court level to possession of heroin and cocaine worth more than €13,000 for sale and supply at his home and at Bluebell Industrial Estate on the Naas Road.

He also admitted possession of a Heckler and Koch MP5 sub-machine gun, a Steyr AUG sub-machine gun, a GSG5 sub-machine gun, a 9mm handgun, a .45 handgun and 23 bullets. The items were found on February 9th and 10th, 2015. He has eight previous convictions for road traffic offences.

Judge Melanie Greally at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court suspended the last three years of the sentence on strict conditions.

She said the largest consignment of drugs, 18kg of heroin, with a street value of €2.69 million, had been stored in plain sight in the premises Rowe had been using for car repairs.

She acknowledged that he took full responsibility for both the drugs and firearms but said the guns were serious weapons “that have the capacity to mutilate and kill”.

Judge Greally accepted that a number of testimonials handed into court outlined that Rowe was a conscientious and devoted family man, that his local community held him in high regard and that he had led a productive work life.

“It is difficult to reconcile the context of the testimonials with someone who played such a pivotal role in the holding of firearms and drugs,” the judge commented.

Detective Inspector Colm O'Malley told Cathleen Noctor BL, prosecuting that suspicious material associated with the preparation of drugs was found in Rowe's van on February 9, 2015. This led to gardaí raiding his home.

The drugs and guns were found in the attic of a recently converted shed out the back of the house.

A 3kg package of cocaine, worth €210,567 and 869 grammes of heroin, worth €130,440, were found between the rafters under the insulation.

A pistol together with its magazine was found in holdall behind a light well as was a sub-machine gun.

Two further sub-machine guns were found in the right and left leg of a pair of tracksuit bottoms, while 15 rounds of ammunition that was suitable for use in a variety of revolvers, pistols and sub-machine guns, were also found.

Rowe was arrested and gardaí searched the premises in the Bluebell Industrial Estate the following day where the large amount of heroin and a further €34,776 worth of cocaine was discovered.

A semi-automatic pistol, wrapped in a latex glove and hidden in a box was discovered in an upstairs office area along with 7 rounds of 9mm ammunition. A vacuum packing machine, a blender and remnants of silver foil were also found.

Det Insp O'Malley confirmed that all the guns and ammunition were later forensically analysed and found to be in good working condition.

He said Rowe was caught red-handed and he acknowledged in garda interview that the drugs and weapons were his and were under his control. He was later granted High Court bail.

Felix McEnroy SC, defending said his client was a good family man, whose four children were aged between four and 15 years old.

He had held down a number of jobs since leaving school at 14 but was on social welfare at the time of his arrest.

Mr McEnroy said his client accepted that they were extremely serious offences but asked the court to take into account his early plea of guilty and co-operation with the garda investigation.

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