a father-of-two who transported almost €34,000 worth of cocaine and 249 rounds of viable ammunition and guns almost six years ago has been jailed for four years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Robert Hunt (35) moved to England for work shortly after being charged by gardai in 2008 but returned voluntarily this year to face the case.
He pleaded guilty to possession of the ammunition and 485gm of cocaine, worth €33,978, for sale or supply in Old Cabra Road, Dublin 7, on November 24, 2008.
His 15 previous convictions are for minor traffic offences.
Judge Martin Nolan said it was "a very substantial amount of useful ammunition which was obviously going to be used to shoot people".
He accepted that although Hunt made no admissions in his subsequent garda interviews, he returned to Ireland to have the case dealt with.
Judge Nolan took into account his "many good points", but said it was "very, very serious" transporting so much ammunition. He accepted Hunt was acting under coercion and had come into contact with unsavoury individuals.
"In the end he committed a serious crime," Judge Nolan said, adding that the amount of ammunition was too serious not to impose a custodial sentence.
Gda Declan O'Reilly told the prosecution that in November 2008 gardai stopped the silver Volkswagen Bora that Hunt was driving and searched it after they noticed a smell of cannabis. Hunt appeared nervous and was unable to say where he had come from.
The cocaine and cannabis resin, worth €441, were later found in the compartment next to the gearbox. Gardai also discovered 199 rounds of ammunition for a 7.65 Browning gun and 50 rounds for a 9mm Parabellum gun.
Gda O' Reilly agreed with the defence that Hunt was "at the very bottom of the food chain".
The officer accepted that Hunt claimed during interview that he had been acting under duress.