TWO drug mules dumped their haul of more than €200,000 worth of cannabis and cocaine and spent 36 hours running and walking from Co Kildare to Dublin to avoid pursuing gardai.
The chase was outlined in court yesterday at the sentencing of former soldier Joseph Farrell (46), of Funshinagh, Four Roads, Co Roscommon, who admitted having the drugs for sale or supply on May 11, 2007.
Det Gda George Garvey told Roscommon Circuit Court that Jason Bertles and Tom Quinn had been contacted by Farrell on that date and asked to collect a parcel with cannabis in it. He told them to head towards Dublin and they would be paid €500 each.
They collected a box containing cannabis and cocaine from an unidentified man at Johns-town, Co Kildare.
Shortly afterwards, they were spotted by Det Gda John Costello who became suspicious and followed their Opel Vectra.
The pair realised they were being followed and drove into a housing estate where they abandoned the car and the box.
They ran along a railway line over a day and a night before reaching Connolly station in Dublin.
They got in touch with Farrell and he arrived with another man and drove them to Ennis. Farrell offered them €1,000 each to go to the UK, the court heard.
But after a couple of days in the UK the two men had second thoughts, returned to Ireland and surrendered. They were later sentenced to four years in prison.
Det Gda Costello discovered the haul of drugs in the abandoned car, and on analysis it was found to consist of €146,220 worth of cannabis and €68,000 worth of cocaine.
Det Gda Garvey secured a search warrant and went to Farrell's home. He admitted knowing the two men but denied any knowledge of the drugs.
He was charged and pleaded guilty to charges of having the cannabis and cocaine for sale or supply.
The court heard that he had been a soldier in the army since 1987 and was given an honourable discharge last year.
He had served seven overseas tours of duty with UNIFIL, was in a relationship and had a seven-year-old child.
A character reference from a sergeant major was submitted.
Judge Tony Hunt said he needed to consider the evidence and adjourned sentencing to later this month.
Farrell's partner, Samantha Devaney (41), of the same address, pleaded guilty to a charge of giving a sum of money to impede the apprehension of Jason Bertles.
The court was told Devaney had handed a Tayto crisp bag containing €2,000 to Bertles' partner.
Judge Hunt said he had to be cognisant of the welfare of Ms Devaney's child and adjourned sentencing to May for a report on her suitability for a community service order.