A GARDA drugs sting operation resulted in two brothers appearing before Wexford Circuit Criminal Court.
Before the court on guilty pleas were 27-year-old Johnny Connors, c/o Naomi Sinnott, An Clachin, Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford, and also of Rosemount Drinagh, Wexford, and 26-year-old Paddy Connors, of Rosemount Drinagh, who pleaded guilty to a number of drugs related offences.
Johnny Connors pleaded guilty to a series of charges of possessing diamorphine (heroin) for the purpose of sale or supply at Rosemount, Drinagh, on both September 11, 2014 and November 2, 2014; at Londis carpark on January 28, 2015; at Keyser's Lane, Wexford, on February 6, 2015; and at North Main St., Wexford, on February 27, 2015.
Paddy Connors pleaded guilty to having diamorphine (heroin) in his possession for sale or supply at Tesco Car Park, Wexford, on May 14, 2015; Wygram, Wexford, on November 19, 2014; and (two offences) at Tesco Car Park, Distillery Road, Wexford, on December 11, 2014.
Garda Stephen Burke told the court that after a guilty plea was entered on November 1, 2016, a psychological report was ordered for both defendants.
Garda Burke said that gardaí carried out a sting operation in Wexford where members purchased heroin from the defendants to the value of €35 and €50.
He said the brothers were involved in the sale and supply of heroin in the Wexford area using a mobile phone number. Gardaí rang the number and arranged a purchas, after which Johnny Connors supplied controlled drugs to Garda Sean McBride. Gardaí also visited the house and were supplied with drugs believed to be diamorphine.
Garda Burke said both defendants were arrested and interviewed. Both had previous convictions.
Replying to Prosecuting Counsel, Sinead Gleeson, Garda Burke said there is an ongoing heroin problem in Wexford.
Defence Counsel, Philip Sheehan, S.C. for Paddy Connors, said his client is unemployed but since his arrest had undertaken a number of programmes. He said there was a report from Dr. Curran available to the court that showed he was drugs free on May 15.
Mr. Sheehan said Paddy Connors had started using drugs at the age of 14. He said drugs addiction was rife in his family.
Mr Sheehan told the court that his client had himself decided to try to turn to a different course in life and the fact that he had not come to the attention of gardaí since would suggest that this was the case.
But, given the absence of opportunity coupled with his addiction, it came as no surprise that Paddy Connors had 52 previous convictions. This was his graduation to the bigger league of offending, suggested Mr Sheehan.
Defence Counsel, Sara Phelan, for Johnny Connors, said her client came from a particularly troubled background and would not have had opportunities in life.
Ms Phelan said that unfortunately he is somewhat behind his brother in facing up to his addiction, and has not had the benefit of residential treatment. At the moment he is attending a substance misuse methadone programme, through which he is now addressing his drug taking. He has served time in prison and was the victim of a serious assault in the Midlands Prison. He has a real fear of going back into custody.
Judge Cormac Quinn said that while the amount of drugs purchased was not of a large quantity, they were the type of drugs that had wreaked havoc on society, something which has to be taken into account.
He said that in relation to Paddy Connors he would impose a sentence of two years on each of the four offences, the sentences to run concurrently. However, because he had turned the corner, he would suspend the final nine months on condition that Paddy Connors enter a bond of €200 to keep the peace in prison, and on release come under the Probation and Welfare services, remain drugs free, and comply with all directions of the Probation and Welfare services.
Regarding Johnny Connors, Judge Quinn imposed a sentence of eighteen months, to run concurrently, on each of the five charges. However, he said, that he would suspend the sentences in their entirety on the condition that the defendant enter into a bond of €200 to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for two years, and abide by all conditions and courses as directed by the Probation Services, including any residential drugs treatment rehabilitation course.