Two years in jail for €1.29m drugs conviction

A Dublin man caught with cannabis and ecstasy valued at €1.29 million has received an eight year sentence with six suspended.

Thomas Cunningham (50) of Tooten Hill Cottages, Rathcoole, Dublin pleaded guilty to possessing ecstasy tablets, cannabis herb and resin at his home on 15th March 2012.

Passing sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Mary Ellen Ring said that Cunningham was caught red-handed but that his role was minor compared to his co-accused, James Brady.

She suspended six years of an eight year sentence on the condition that Cunningham keeps the peace for that period.

Garda Tim Casey said customs officials found the drugs stored at a warehouse at Logistics Park in Swords.

He told Karen O'Connor BL, prosecuting, that the drugs were packed in 16 boxes which also contained shoes.

The boxes were stored on a pallet addressed to Merchant's Yard warehouse in East Wall.

Gardaí seized the consignment drove it to the warehouse where it was collected in a van by co-accused James Brady (35), of Meile an Ri Drive, Balgaddy, Lucan, Co Dublin.

Gardaí then followed the van to Cunningham's home at Tooton Hill Cottages in Rathcoole.

They searched the property later that day, and found the drugs in boxes stored in the garden shed, in a wheelie bin, inside the house and in the garden.

Gardaí seized 64.5 kilos of cannabis herb valued at €774,960 and a quantity of cannabis resin worth €1,850.

They also found 51,656 ecstasy tablets with an estimated street value of €516,560.

Thomas Cunningham, who is visually impaired, told gardaí that a friend had asked him to mind the drugs overnight to be collected the following day.

He was to be paid €1,200 for the job.

Cunningham said he knew the consignment was weed, but that he didn't know how much and that he was shocked when he saw the amount.

He told gardaí, “I am caught red-handed and I'm sorry it happened.”

Cunningham has four previous convictions for burglary and public order offences dating back to the early 80s.

Giolliosa O'Lidheadha SC, defending, said Cunningham has less involvement in the operation than his co-accused.

The court heard that James Brady, who collected the drugs in his van, has been sentenced to eight years in prison with four years suspended.

Judge Ring accepted that Cunningham had a lower role in the offence. However she said the drugs trade couldn't operate with a missing link and as such Cunningham's role was crucial.

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