Monday 19 February 2018

Great-grandmother avoids jail for storing €52k of cannabis and €91k of illicit cash in her home

Julie Nugent has avoided jail
Julie Nugent has avoided jail

Aoife Nic Ardghail and Declan Brennan

A great-grandmother who was “preyed upon by others” has received a four year suspended sentence for storing €52,000 of cannabis and over €91,000 in illicit cash at her home.

Julie Nugent (63) told gardaí that “foolishness, stupidity and thinking I would get a few bob at the end of it” made her agree to keep the cash and drugs.

Detective Garda David Carolan said that Nugent, who has no previous convictions, told him: “I’m physically sick I could be so stupid.”

Nugent, of The Maples, Clonshaugh Woods pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possessing almost nine kilograms of cannabis and possessing the cash, knowing it was the proceeds of crime, at her home on December 16, 2012.

Her daughter, Marcia Russell (42) of Clonshaugh Glen, Clonskeagh, pleaded guilty to handling €91,140, knowing it was proceeds of crime, on December 16, 2012. She received a five and a half year sentence with the final three years suspended for her role.

Det Gda Carolan agreed with Sean Gillane SC, defending Nugent, that his client hadn’t been the target of the garda operation and that her vulnerability had been preyed upon by others. Her husband had died nine months before the offence.

The detective and his colleagues got a search warrant for Nugent’s premises after arresting Russell and a Polish national with €7,000 cash at another location.

Gardai found €91,140 cash and seven copybooks containing drug tick lists in Nugent’s wardrobe and the slabs of cannabis resin in a hot press at her home. The tick lists referred to cash amounts of tens and hundreds of thousands of euro.

Russell’s finger marks were identified on the copybooks. There was no evidence that any of the names in the tick list were written in handwriting of either Russell or Nugent.

Nugent admitted during garda interview that she had known about the drugs in her house, despite not having looked in the bag.

She said she didn’t know how much money was in the wardrobe, but that she had been asked to store it six weeks before the garda raid. She said that since her husband had died, she would only leave the house to collect her widow’s pension.

She said the others involved in the crime had told her she would be “looked after” and that she expected to get a few hundred Euro for her role.

Det Gda Carolan agreed with Mr Gillane that Nugent made full admissions at the scene. He further agreed that Nugent could be described as a “salt of the earth person” who was a million miles away from drug dealings.

Mr Gillane submitted to Judge Mary Ellen Ring that his client found herself in “reduced circumstances” after her husband died and was on increased antidepressant medication to cope with the bereavement.

Judge Ring suspended Nugent’s sentence for four years, taking into account her full co-operation and early guilty plea.

The court heard that Russell’s brother was shot dead in a pub and her partner is missing and believed to have been murdered by gangland criminals. Russell’s only previous conviction is for speeding.

Michael O’Higgins SC, defending Russell, said she was a soft touch who was essentially a good person. He said she was under significant financial pressure at the time.

Online Editors

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