Handover of €250k of cocaine leads to 10-year prison term

Handover of €250k of cocaine leads to 10-year prison term

By Declan Brennan 

A man who was involved in the handover of nearly €250,000 worth of cocaine has been jailed for ten years.

Clondalkin man Jason Kearney (37) was described in court as a “drugs courier” whose role was essential to criminal drug-dealing operations.

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Detective Garda Tim Casey from the Garda National Drugs Unit told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that, on foot of confidential information, gardai had put a surveillance operation in place. The target of this operation was Kearney’s co-accused, Trevor Brunton (35).

During surveillance of Brunton’s car at Blanchardstown Centre on July 28, 2016, gardaí saw Brunton collect a package from a van driven by Kearney.

Gardai intercepted both vehicles and arrested the two men. They seized eight blocks of cocaine wrapped in silver duct tape.

With the packaging removed, the drugs weighed a little over three kilos and had an estimated street value of €245,000, the court heard.

Kearney, of Neilstown Drive, Clondalkin pleaded guilty to possession for sale or supply of drugs with a value greater than €13,000. Brunton, of Broombridge Road, Cabra, Dublin pleaded guilty to the same offence on another court date and will be sentenced next January.

Kearney’s 15 previous convictions go back to 2001. In 2008 he received a sentence of seven years with four suspended for dealing drugs with a value greater than €13,000.

Under the law this offence comes with a mandatory sentence of ten years imprisonment for someone convicted on a second occasion.

Judge Martin Nolan agreed to have Kearney’s sentence reviewed after six years.

Michael Bowman SC, defending, said his client was a courier with a position at the bottom of “the ladder”.

Counsel told the court that “without such roles the machine does not work” but said that if a courier “loses” drugs they incur a debt.

He said that his client incurred a debt from the 2008 drugs conviction and that this debt followed him through his time in prison “like a millstone around his neck”. Det Garda Casey agreed with counsel that gardaí contacted Kearney about a threat to his life.

He said Kearney had struggled with a deep-seated drug addiction for a long period of time.

“He said he lived a “hand-to-mouth” existence and his involvement in this offending was motivated by necessity rather than greed.

The court heard he told gardai he wasn’t afraid of the person he owed the debt to, but “he did it to get him off his back”.