A former Tuam drug dealer and heroin addict, who was caught with almost €25,000 worth of drugs in his car and at his apartment last year, has been given until November by a circuit court judge to reduce his intake of methadone before a prison sentence is imposed.
Brendan Mannion (28 ), with addresses at Apartment 1, The Stables, Lower Dublin Road, Tuam, and formerly of 15 Sharmore, Galway Road, Tuam, pleaded guilty before the Circuit Criminal Court in April to having cocaine in his possession for sale or supply to others at two different locations in Tuam on June 9 last year. He pleaded guilty also to having cannabis for sale or supply to others on the same date.
Sentencing was adjourned to May 9 last, but on that date sentencing was further adjourned to last week as Mannion was trying to wean himself off drugs.
Detective Pat Shannon gave evidence last week that he stopped Mannion’s car on June 9 last year and found a package containing cocaine with a street value of €16,814 lying on the front seat. He detained the accused and organised a follow-up search of an apartment Mannion had been sharing at the time with his girlfriend at 15 Sharmore.
Det Shannon said there were drugs everywhere in the apartment; on the kitchen table, under the table, in the cupboards, and lying around the bedroom. He found more cocaine in the apartment with a street value of €5,141, cannabis worth €2,582, and a small amount of heroin with a street value of €253. The total value of the drugs found came to €24,790.
Det Shannon said he had never heard of Mannion ever working and at the time of his arrest he would have been the main drug dealer in the Tuam area. Det Shannon said Mannion’s detection followed a long surveillance operation involving a large team of gardaí. He said Mannion has a heroin problem and now lives with his mother at St Enda’s Avenue in Tuam.
State barrister, Conor Fahy, asked Det Shannon what type of people Mannion supplied in the Tuam area, to which the detective replied, “Everyone with a drug habit.”
He said they ranged in age from teenagers to people in their thirties.
Judge Raymond Groarke asked if there was a serious heroin habit in Tuam.
“We have heroin now. Back then a small amount of heroin was found. He [Mannion] was a heroin addict.
“How many heroin addicts are there in Tuam now?” Judge Groarke asked.
Det Shannon replied he would know five heroin addicts.
“There’s always a market for cocaine, of course,” Judge Groarke observed.
Det Shannon agreed there was.
In reply to Mr Fahy, who asked if Mannion was continuing to deal in drugs, detective Shannon said he believed the accused was no longer involved in the drugs scene or was taking them. He remarked that Mannion’s physical appearance had improved greatly and that he had been “pretty bad” when apprehended over a year ago.
Defence barrister John Kiely said the amount of drugs Mannion was taking at the time was “absolutely enormous”. He told the court his client had been subjected to two serious assaults after being arrested to ensure he would remain silent about who his suppliers were.
Mr Kiely said Mannion had developed a serious chest problem from smoking heroin and was being treated for that. He said his client had disassociated himself from those involved in the drugs trade and was now living at home with his mother.
Mr Kiely said a probation report handed into court detailed the methadone programme Mannion is currently involved in. He said his client was reducing his intake of methadone gradually and while he was currently on 65ml doses he would need to get that down to 30ml doses before going into prison.
Mr Kiely said Mannion knew he would be getting a prison sentence for these offences, but he said that in order for his client to survive in prison and not go back on drugs, he would need to have the methadone dose down to 30mls first.
The barrister asked Judge Raymond Groarke to further defer sentencing until October or November, which would give Mannion time to reduce his methadone dose.
Judge Groarke said he was granting one final adjournment to November 26 next and said sentence would be imposed on that date no matter what. He directed the preparation of another probation report with urine analysis results for that date.