Dublin man tells of 'deal or be dead' choice in drugs case

A 30-year-old man caught with over €87,000 worth of heroin in his bathroom told gardaí he had “no option” but to deal drugs, a court has heard.

Father-of-two Mark O'Reilly, of Swanhall Apartments, Tallaght pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possessing heroin for sale or supply at his address on January 15 2013. He will be sentenced later.

Counsel for O'Reilly, Padraig Dwyer SC, said his client had got into debt for €1,200 from his own cocaine habit and this debt had then risen to €5,000.

O'Reilly told gardaí in interview that he had been weighing up cocaine for distribution and had made a mistake and given out more than he should, which caused his debt to rise significantly.

He did not reveal the names of the individuals he owed money to, but said he was afraid of them.

“I owed them money, they were going to kill me,” he said, adding that he never would have got involved in selling heroin except that he had “no other option”.

A letter from O'Reilly's girlfriend said he had only two choices, “deal or be dead.”

Detective Garda Michael McGrath told Gráinne O'Neill BL, prosecuting, that he arrived at the flat with a search warrant and spoke to O'Reilly's girlfriend.

The couple's young child was also present.

O'Reilly was lying on a bed in a room upstairs and when gardaí entered he pointed to the en-suite bathroom and said “All you want is in there.”

Gardaí found a box above the toilet in the bathroom containing compressed brown powder, a plastic bag containing a brown substance and another container containing cannabis.

The drugs were analysed and comprised over 583 grammes of heroin worth €87,462 and €10 worth of cannabis.

Gardaí also found plastic bags, weighing scales, scissors and other paraphernalia to do with the drugs trade.

O'Reilly was arrested and gardaí found €1,550 in cash on his person along with a tick list.

O'Reilly snapped a mobile phone in two when gardaí arrived, and when asked why he had broken the phone, he said, “I would have been in trouble if the phone had rung and you had answered it.”

He has nine previous convictions, including seven for road traffic offences and two for public order offences.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring chastised O'Reilly for bringing a significant amount of drugs into a family home.

She said it was only a matter of time before the child could have found the drugs and ingested them out of curiosity, ending up dead or seriously damaged.

Judge Ring adjourned the matter for sentencing until May 27, and ordered a probation report and urine analysis to be prepared.

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