Man caught with six stolen cars and €70k worth of cannabis

Man caught with six stolen cars and €70k worth of cannabis

By Declan Brennan

A man caught with six stolen cars and €70,000 worth of cannabis has been jailed for five-and-a-half years.

Christopher Keeley (53) was involved in the chopping up of stolen vehicles in order to sell the spare parts, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

Criminal Courts of Justice 2

He pleaded guilty to possession of stolen cars and to possession for sale or supply of cannabis, all of which were seized by gardai during a search of an industrial lock up in Summerhill, Co Meath.

Garda Ruadhan McLoughlin told the court that acting on confidential information, gardai set up a surveillance operation at the Springvalley industrial unit. Keeley was followed driving to the unit in a van and observed going in and out of the unit.

Gardai subsequently stopped his van while Keeley was driving to Co Wexford. They found a large number of broken-up car parts taken from a stolen car.

 In a follow-up search of the unit in Meath, gardai found cannabis herb with an estimated street value of €69,250 hidden underneath the bonnet of a car.

 Gardai then searched his home in Rossfield Court, Tallaght, Dublin and found fake bank drafts and the keys to a business unit in Blessington, Co Wicklow.

 In a further search of this lockup on the same day, gardai seized two Audi cars and and a Hyundai Santa Fe and €6,415 worth of cocaine hidden in a gold-coloured Nissan Almera.

 The court heard that all the cars seized had been stolen during house burglaries around the country.

Keeley of Rossfield Court, Tallaght, pleaded guilty to possession of stolen cars at two locations on August 31, 2016. He also pleaded guilty to possession for sale or supply of cannabis and cocaine and possession of fake bank drafts on the same date.

 The court heard that gardai also found items used for drug-dealing, such as a digital weighing scales, bagging and a “tick-list” at Keeley’s home.

Sentencing Keeley on Tuesday, Judge Martin Nolan said it was clear that Keeley was dealing the drugs and was doing so for profit.

 He said he could accept that Keeley was remorseful and that he would not appear before the court again for similar offences. Judge Nolan said he was also taking into consideration Keeley’s serious medical problems.

 The court heard that Keeley had had three distinct bouts of cancer since the late ’90s. He has also suffered from a clot in his lung and from arthritis.

 Judge Nolan noted Keeley would have great difficulty in prison.