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Woman caught bringing heroin to her prison pal

A WOMAN pal of a man jailed over a €440m drugs seizure has been caught smuggling €6,000 of heroin into his prison.

The middle-aged woman was caught by prison officers last week when she arrived at the Midlands Prison for a visit to Joe Daly (44).

He is serving a 25-year sentence after being convicted of possessing the biggest cocaine haul in the State's history -- a seizure of 1.5 tonnes of cocaine at Dunlough Bay in 2007.

Prison staff contacted gardai, who then arrested the woman.

She was brought to Portlaoise Garda Station where she was questioned by detectives before being released without charge.

A file is now being prepared for the DPP.


Sources say if the heroin had got into the jail, it would have had a value of "well over four times" the estimated street value that gardai put on the drug.

The woman was not allowed to visit English national Daly after being caught with the drugs.

Daly and three other English criminals are serving lengthy jail terms for their role in the plot to smuggle €440m worth of cocaine into Ireland in July 2007.

Martin Wanden (48), police- killer Perry Wharrie (51), Gerard Hagan (27) and Daly were captured after diesel, instead of petrol, was put into the fuel tanks of their boat, which was carrying the drugs off the coast of Co Cork.

When the vessel capsized, 62 bales of cocaine weighing over 1.5 tonnes were thrown into stormy seas, scuppering a huge drugs operation that had been months in the planning.

Liverpool criminal Hagan admitted his role in the enterprise and was jailed for 10 years.

However the other three men contested the charges but were convicted after a marathon 10-week trial at Cork Circuit Criminal Court which heard from 200 witnesses.

Two of the defendants claimed in direct evidence that they were entirely the victims of circumstances, coincidence and bad luck.

Joe Daly said he had only gone to west Cork as a favour for his brother, who had wanted a RIB delivered. But it would later emerge that Joe Daly's brother was Michael Daly (50) -- a former Metropolitan Police detective who is now serving combined sentences totalling 29 years in a UK prison in relation to the Co Cork plot and another cocaine importation plot.

Gardai believe that Joe Daly became involved in the drugs smuggling operation through his older brother, Michael.

Daly presented a defence that depicted him as very much under the influence of the brother.


Born in London to Irish parents from west Cork, Daly worked as a bricklayer with his own business, JD Bricklaying, is married with three children and lived in Bexley, Kent.

It emerged that he had a number of previous convictions in the UK for offences including threatening and abusive behaviour, assaults on police officers and possessing a blade.

During the trial, his uncle, Tom Lydon, told how Daly visited him on the day before the drugs seizure and watched the Munster football final between Cork and Kerry on TV.

He described him as very obliging -- "the first man to come around" if anyone needed help.