Two Mullingar men have been sentenced to 11 and six years after being caught in possession of €600,000 worth of cannabis outside a Garda station.
Kevin Bardon (21 ), of Greenview Terrace, Patrick Street, and Michael Skey (32 ), of Grange Crescent, were pulled over outside Cabra Garda Station, Dublin and the drugs were found in their boot.
Judge Katherine Delahunt heard it was the second time Skey was caught with a large amount of drugs and sentenced him to 11 years with three suspended. She sentenced Bardon to six years with one suspended.
The court heard Bardon could probably have avoided conviction if he had not admitted he knew the drugs were in the car.
Both men pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of drugs for supply on the Ratoath Road on August 2, 2008.
Judge Delahunt said they were "couriers" who were "not on the lowest rung". She added it was people like them who "shielded the higher-ups".
Garda Peter Cooney told prosecuting counsel, Mr Pieter Le Vert BL, he was in a patrol car when a Volkswagen Passat sped past him and he recognised Skey as the driver.
Skey was driving erratically so Garda Cooney turned around and chased him, making him pull over outside the Garda station.
Bardon was in the passenger seat and appeared nervous. When asked what was wrong he said he was a drug addict. Skey was asked to open the boot but claimed it was broken and did not open.
Gda Cooney then noticed there was no divide between the boot and back seat. Under a cover in the boot they found 85.8kgs of cannabis which was valued at €600,741.
The men were arrested and interviewed. Skey said he had driven his car to the North Side Shopping Centre where he left it unattended with the keys in for 10 minutes. He then returned and a man nodded at him to indicate the drugs were in the car.
He said he agreed to transport the cannabis to help pay off a drugs debt, and was afraid he would be killed if he refused. He said he did not know what type of drugs they were or how much there was.
Bardon told gardai he had been sleeping rough in Mullingar and had come to Dublin that morning to buy heroin. He initially claimed he did not know about the drugs but later admitted he had been given €500 to help transport them.
William Galvin BL, defending Skey, said he had become an addict while in prison nine months previously and owed money for drugs. He has two young children.
John Bynre BL, defending Bardon, said he came from a good family who owned a printing company in Mullingar. He said if he had not made admissions to gardai he could have successfully claimed he did not know about the drugs.