A young man has been jailed for four years for possession of drugs and weapons, including a high powered Magnum revolver.
The cache was found by detectives in wasteland behind Jamie O’Connell’s house. He later handed himself into gardai because he was worried that the owners would think he had sold or stolen the weapons.
O’Connell (24) told gardai he was forced to hold the items to pay off a drug debt. He said that there were threats against his life after the garda raid and he was forced to escape to Belfast.
He pleaded guilty to possession of €800 worth of cannabis and €2,900 worth of cocaine for sale or supply at the rear of his home on St Attracta’s Road, Cabra on August 19, 2010. He also admitted to possessing a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum Revolver, a Biakal 9mm pistol and eleven rounds of ammunition.
Judge Martin Nolan accepted O’Connell wasn’t the owner of the items but said he must have known they were going to be used in serious crime including possibly murder.
He imposed a four year sentence and refused a defence application to suspend any part of it.
Detective Garda Niall Armstrong of the Special Detective Unit said a confidential tip-off led them to search O’Connell’s home. Two cannabis plants were found upstairs and a sniffer dog located the rest of the items in the wasteland behind the back garden.
The Magnum revolver was found to be “a very good quality” firearm and capable of firing. The Baikal gun was in “fair condition” but missing the firing pin.
O’Connell was not arrested at his home but came to the garda station later that day and admitted he was holding the cache. He said he was admitting this so a “third party” didn’t think he had stolen or sold the items which had since been seized by gardai.
He made full admissions but refused to name the guns’ owners. He said he was given them the previous day because he owed a €10,000 drug debt.
Anne Marie Lawlor BL, prosecuting, said O’Connell has 14 previous convictions including several for drugs offences.
O’Connell’s counsel, Sandra Frayne BL, said the guns and cocaine were not found on his property, making his guilty plea very useful to gardai. She added that he was in fear of his life at the time and was told he would be shot if he didn’t hold the guns.