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They said they'd break my legs over a drug debt

A Dublin judge said that "recreational drug use is not a consequence-free zone" at the sentence hearing of a 23-year-old man who acted as a drugs courier to repay a cannabis "debt".

Peter Bell was told that his legs would be broken if he did not collect drugs, valued at €15,000, to repay his debt. Gardai seized the drugs when they intercepted him and Bell then had to pay the criminals €5,000 for their loss

Bell, of Edenmore Avenue, Coolock, admitted at the Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the drugs for sale or supply in Raheny on November 10, 2007.


Judge Tony Hunt said he noticed a significant number of young men who had not previously been in serious trouble coming before the courts having been threatened by drug dealers.

Detective Garda Brian Johnson said he was on patrol at Springdale Road, Raheny, when he stopped and searched a car in which Bell was a passenger. He said he noticed Bell bending down in the car and they found cocaine under the car seat.

Bell told gardai he had collected the drugs on behalf of someone to whom he owed money.

Det Gda Johnson said Bell had three previous convictions including one for having counterfeit currency.

He agreed with Fiona Murphy, defending, that Bell was co-operative when stopped by gardai and while he initially denied the charges he eventually made admissions.

He agreed that Bell told gardai: "I was told if I did not have the money by the weekend I would have my legs broke." He agreed that Bell presented as "very scared and remorseful".

Det Gda Johnson accepted there was no question of him making money and that Bell had to pay €5,000 to the people he had been moving the drugs for.

He accepted that threats had been made to Bell and agreed that Bell had got a serious scare and was unlikely to go down this road again.

Judge Hunt adjourned sentencing until March to allow a probation report be prepared.