Man sentenced to 12 years for cocaine possession

A Tallaght man found in possession of cocaine with a potential value of €1.9m in a flat which gardaí described as a "processing plant" has been sentenced to 12 years by Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today.

Judge Joseph Matthews suspended three years of Keith Mahon’s sentence and heard the 15 kilos of cocaine was worth €1m, but had a value of nearly double that if combined with a mixing agent also found at the flat.

Mahon (aged 30) of Brookmount, Tallaght pleaded guilty to having the cocaine for sale or supply at an apartment on Muckross Avenue, Crumlin on August 12, 2005.

Detective Sergeant Gerard Quinn told Cormac Quinn BL, prosecuting, that gardaí were called to the address because of a bad smell coming from the ground floor apartment. Gardaí forced entry to the premises on grounds that the smell may have posed a risk to health and safety.

Det Sgt Quinn said that the flat was unoccupied at the time and gardaí found a large cardboard box in a bedroom which contained white powder. A search warrant was then obtained while the flat was kept under surveillance.

Gardai found over 15 kilos of cocaine and powder used as a mixing agent along side drug paraphernalia such as scales, plastic bags and components of a machine, including a hydraulic pump, used to compress cocaine.

During the search Mahon used a key to enter the flat and told gardaí he took full responsibility for the drugs.

Det Sgt Quinn agreed with Judge Matthews that the apartment could be described as a "drugs processing plant".

Judge Matthews heard that the apartment had been rented by Mahon a year earlier and that he used it exclusively to store and deal with the cocaine before passing it on to others.

Det Sgt Quinn said Mahon had no previous convictions but was a user of cocaine and had been introduced to professionals in the drugs trade by an acquaintance. He was paid to take the cocaine from these people, who provided the rent money, and mix it with an agent which would double its bulk, before returning it to them.

Det Sgt Quinn said the smell which originally drew attention to the premises came from storing the drugs and the chemical mixing agent in a place where the windows were never opened.

Mahon told gardaí that he went to the flat to mix cocaine approximately every three months and that he had so far been paid €30,000 which gardaí later found in the attic of his Tallaght home. Mahon said he had wanted to buy a house and was in debt to his bank to the tune of nearly €30,000

Erwan Mill-Arden SC, defending, said Mahon was in fear of the people who had given him the cocaine and had been the perfect person to use because of his lack of previous convictions.

Mr Mill-Arden said that his client had sought help for his drug use before his arrest and had been putting his life back on track.

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