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€1m drugs courier jailed after delay to see twins' Christening

A MARRIED father-of-six who delivered nearly €1m of heroin to a Dublin criminal has been sentenced to eight years after his case had been adjourned to allow him attend the Christening of his twins.

Gardai at the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation observed their operation's target take a black sack full of heroin from Brian Perry's van at a car park in Templeogue.

Perry (28) of Cushlawn Drive, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possessing nearly 5kg of heroin worth €993,080 at the Spawell car park on September 30, 2008.

He had seven previous convictions for minor traffic offences.

Det Garda Fiona Connaghton told Dominic McGinn, prosecuting, that her investigation team had been focusing on another man as part of an operation targeting Drimnagh gangs.

She said colleagues had set up surveillance outside this man's home and followed him to the car park, where they saw him pull up beside Perry's Ford Transit and take the bag containing heroin from the passenger side.

The surveillance team stopped both vehicles as they began moving off and seized the drugs.

Det Gda Connaghton said Perry took full responsibility for his "one-off" role in the drugs trade.

She said he claimed he had a €5,000 cocaine debt, that he didn't know the other man and had presumed the drugs he was transporting were worth between €50,000 and €100,000.

The detective garda agreed with defence counsel, Garrett McCormack, that Perry had worked hard all his life and came from a respectable family.

She accepted Perry had engaged in a "one-off" job to get rid of the drug debt.

Judge Katherine Delahunt had adjourned sentencing Perry last month, having heard all the evidence, to allow him attend his twins' christening.

She accepted the garda evidence that Perry had not been a member of an organised crime gang and had not been the target of the operation.

"I accept that you were a courier fulfilling an essential role for serious criminals involved in organised criminal activity and as such acted as a barrier between gardai and these people," Judge Delahunt said.

She said as these people placed their trust in Perry she was satisfied that, although he was not at the highest rung of the ladder in the operation, he was not near the lowest either.

Judge Delahunt said she had taken into account Perry's good work history, his plea, co-operation with the gardai and history of drug abuse before she suspended the final two years of the sentence for four years.