Drugs worth €150k found in dryer after blaze

Drugs worth €150k found in dryer after blaze

By Aoife Nic Ardghail

A Dublin man who stored over €150,000 of prescription and illegal drugs at his home was found drinking a glass of orange juice in the kitchen while the building was on fire, a court has heard.

Garda Neill McGrath was responding to a call about the house fire when he discovered Jason Kearney (37) in the kitchen of the smoke-filled premises drinking orange juice.

Criminal Courts of Justice 2

Garda McGrath revealed he had to shout at Kearney several times to get out of the house because he kept walking back into the kitchen.

Once the fire brigade had extinguished the flames, the garda saw tablets on a kitchen countertop and later got a warrant to search the home for drugs.

During the raid he found €104,604 of phenazepam tablets and €41,180 of zopiclone pills, which are both prescription only, as well as €7,400 of the illegal trifluoromethylphenyl-piperazine (TFMPP) in ziplock bags in the tumble dyer.

Kearney, a father-of-three of Foxborough Rise, Lucan, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possessing TFMPP for sale or supply at his home on May 27, 2015.

Kearney has 15 previous convictions and is in custody until 2023 for another serious drugs offence after being sentenced last month.

On Wednesday Judge Martin Nolan imposed a three-year sentence to run concurrently to the jail term he is currently serving. Garda McGrath told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, that Kearney made admissions in interview after his arrest and revealed he was to receive €1,000 for storing the tablets.

The garda agreed with Michael Bowman SC, defending, that his client had been “clearly on some type of intoxicant” when he was walking around with a glass of orange while his house was on fire.

Garda McGrath accepted that Kearney was unsure what type of drugs he was holding and that he had put them in the tumble dryer because it was the handiest place.

He further agreed Kearney had a significant history with drug abuse and drug offending.

Judge Nolan noted that the defendant was a man who has been “addicted all his life to drugs”.

He accepted that Kearney was to get a reward for holding the tablets, but said it was unjust to impose a consecutive element to the sentence he was already serving.