Prison for father-of-two who helped bag €280k of heroin

Prison for father-of-two who helped bag €280k of heroin

By Aoife Nic Ardghail

A Dublin father-of-two who agreed to help bag over €280,000 of heroin for a small sum of money and a “bit of smoke” has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Edward Maher (31) told gardaí he didn’t know what was involved when he got a call about the job and claimed he tried to get out of it when he realised what his role would be.

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He said his job would have been to tie up bags of heroin from the 2.04kg cache, but he didn’t get that far as gardaí swooped in with a search warrant.

Maher, of Croftwood Gardens, Ballyfermot, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possessing €286,020 of heroin at Orchard Lawns, Ballyfermot on December 19, 2016.

He has 12 previous convictions for minor road traffic offences.

Garda John Morrissey told Eoin Lawlor BL, prosecuting, that he and colleagues set up a surveillance operation in the Ballyfermot area on December 19, 2016.

The gardaí saw Maher go back and forth between his home and the Orchard Lawns premises with another man in the evening.

They later observed this man approach a third male in a laneway. Gardai stopped the third male afterwards and found drugs on him.

Garda Morrissey said he and colleagues got a warrant to search the Orchard Lawns premises on foot of this transaction.

During the subsequent raid they found Maher in a back shed with a quantity of brown powder, electronic weighing scales, gloves and a blender.

Garda Morrissey told Mr Lawlor that Maher co-operated during the interview and admitted he was helping put the heroin into bags.

He revealed that while he didn’t take heroin or have a drug debt, he did smoke cannabis. He said he had been promised €100 to do the job and that there would also be “a bit of smoke in it”.

Gda Morrissey agreed with Luigi Rea BL, defending, that no drugs or paraphernalia was found at his client’s house during another raid.

He further agreed Maher showed no signs of wealth or spending.

Mr Rea submitted to Judge Martin Nolan that his client had dealt with his cannabis addiction and had family support in court.

He asked the judge to consider a fully suspended sentence given Maher’s lack of serious offending and his minor role in the drugs enterprise.

Judge Nolan said Maher was part of the “chain” in the enterprise even though he was close to the bottom.

He noted Mr Rea’s submission for a wholly suspended sentence but said he couldn’t accede to this as the crime was too serious.

“[Maher] took a chance and committed a grave error of judgement”, the judge said.