Man drove from court in car containing heroin

A man with 78 previous convictions had been caught ferrying drugs valued at €1,500, wrapped and ready for sale, to Galway city just hours after appearing before a court in Castlerea.

Presiding judge at Galway District Court Mary Fahy described the actions of Ciaran McLoughlin as “outrageous” before imposing a nine month jail sentence and a seven year disqualification from driving.

The 22-year-old, with an address at 121 Manor Court, Knocknacarra, was brought in custody before Judge Fahy at Monday’s court sitting where he pleaded guilty to possession of heroin, and possession of heroin with intent to sell or supply to others on October 15, 2010.

Inspector Sean Glynn told the court that the gardai intercepted McLoughlin’s car on the Quincentenary Bridge at 4pm after receiving information. Under the Misuse of Drugs Act a search of the car was conducted and three packages were found to be concealed in the back seat. “They were made up ready for supply to others,” said the inspector, who added that the estimated value of the drugs was approximately €1,500.

After searching the car the garda officers then proceeded to search McLoughlin and found in the left jacket pocket “six deals” of heroin and cash to the value of €790. McLoughlin was then conveyed to Galway Garda Station where he was detained, and during questioning, admitted the drugs belonged to him and that he did supply. He told gardai he had “some deals” that day. The court further heard that McLoughlin had been in court in Castlerea for a probation report and had been driving the car back from the court to Galway city.

“That’s outrageous, to go to court with highly addictive drugs,” said Judge Fahy in disbelief. Inspector Glynn then informed Judge Fahy that McLoughlin has 78 previous convictions which included a number of drug related offences in 2007. Other convictions were for theft, assault, burglary, and driving without insurance.

Defence solicitor Brian Gilmartin said his client had got the drugs after leaving the court. He then acknowledged his client has a long history of drug abuse but that various attempts have been made to get treatment and that he has been off drugs for the past three months.

“He is up in court for a probation report and then leaves, driving off in a car full of drugs, in the car and on his person, ready for sale... He was peddling a highly addictive drug to other poor individuals,” replied Judge Fahy.

After hearing the evidence Judge Fahy said that she would take the plea of guilty and his circumstances into account but that she couldn’t ignore the fact that McLoughlin has 78 previous convictions and that he had been using his car while committing the offence. McLoughlin was then convicted and sentenced to nine months in jail and disqualified for seven years for possession with intent to sell or supply, while a two month sentence, to run concurrently, was imposed for the remaining charge. An order was also made for the destruction of the drugs and the forfeiture to the State of the €790 cash. Leave to appeal and free legal aid was also granted.

 

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