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Personal trainer jailed for possession of cocaine worth €25,000

Elmer Habibovic was given a three-year sentence with the final 18 months suspended

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A personal trainer who said he was holding €25,000 worth of cocaine to pay off a gambling debt has been jailed for 18 months.

During a search of the Dublin home of Elmer Habibovic (31) on April 19, 2018, gardaí seized the cocaine with a total value of €25,500.

Passing sentence today, Judge Elma Sheahan noted that Habibovic was also found in possession of €6,000 in cash in the house and said the court had difficulty accepting the explanation that he had held the drugs in order to pay a gambling debt of €15,000.

She said he also had sufficient savings to repay the debt, if it existed, and that his engagement in the drug trade was therefore for financial gain.

Habibovic, of Woodvale Avenue, Hartstown, Dublin, had pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cocaine for sale or supply at his home.

He has 11 previous convictions for public order and road traffic offences, which were all dealt with in the District Court. He has not come to garda attention since and previously had not offended since July 2009.

Judge Sheahan said the offence fell in the upper end of the lower range of offences of this kind due to the amount of drugs involved and the service provided by the accused that “keeps the kingpins from justice”.

She sentenced Habibovic to three years’ imprisonment, but suspended the final 18 months on strict conditions including that he follow all directions of the Probation Service for 18 months post-release.

Det-Garda Mark O'Neill agreed with Ronan Munro SC, defending, that Habibovic had “been off the garda radar” and “has faded from view” since his arrest. Counsel submitted that his client instructed he has since “dissociated from his peers” at the time.

Mr Munro handed in a large amount of testimonials to the court that he said outlined the contribution his client has made to his local community, assisting many clubs with free strength and conditioning training.

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