Two men who were involved in a drug dealing operation involving heroin, cannabis and cocaine worth over €1.5 million have been jailed for 11 years and eight and a half years respectively.
Carl Powell (34) was jailed at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for 11 years for his mid-ranking role in the drugs' operation, while his co-accused Gary Graham (48) – described as a 'foot soldier' – was jailed for eight and a half years.
The court heard that when gardaí raided a property backing onto the River Liffey in Palmerstown in June last year, two men escaped arrest by jumping into the river.
Graham was arrested at the scene along with some other men and 34 kilos of cannabis with a street value of €680,000 was seized, Detective Garda Patrick Hearne told Garrett McCormack BL, prosecuting.
Gardaí then raided an apartment at High Court, Dublin 2 where they found cannabis, cocaine and heroin with a combined street value of €836,400 and over €800,000 in cash along with a small amount of Sterling.
Documents in the apartment were linked to Powell and he was arrested a couple of days later at the Marker Hotel in Dublin, the court heard.
Powell, of Brockle Bank Lane, Liverpool in the UK, pleaded guilty to one count of possessing cannabis, cocaine and heroin for sale or supply at the apartment in Dublin 2 and one count of possessing money which was the proceeds of crime on June 22nd, 2022.
He has 20 previous convictions and was sentenced by a UK court to four years in his absence for cultivating cannabis.
Graham, of Patrick Heaney Crescent, Dublin 1, pleaded guilty to one count of possessing cannabis for sale or supply at Rose Cottage, Mill Lane, Palmerstown, Dublin 20 on the same date. He has two previous convictions, including a serious drug dealing conviction.
Both of the drug dealing charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.
Garret Baker SC, defending Powell, said his client was born and raised in Liverpool where his partner and small children reside. He has been in custody since his arrest and missed the birth of his daughter, the court heard.
Mr Baker said Powell “fell into the wrong line of behaviour”. He said his guilty plea was valuable to the court, given he wasn't present in the apartment when the drugs and money were seized.
Defence counsel said Powell is blind in one eye, which will make custody harder for him and he will not have many visitors, as his family are all in the UK. He urged Judge Martin Nolan to be as lenient as possible.
Michael O'Higgins SC, defending Graham, said his client's part drug dealing offence occurred a number of years ago. He said Graham was a “foot soldier” in the drugs operation and got involved due to a gambling addiction.
Mr O'Higgins submitted his client showed no signs of wealth and has worked hard over the years in a number of different jobs, including baggage handler, tow truck driver and newsagent owner. He has a family and was described as a responsible and supportive parent.
Sentencing Powell, Judge Nolan said it was clear he was involved in the drug dealing operation at a “midway” level. He said Powell did not own the drugs or the money seized, but was responsible for minding it and dealing with it.
He noted Powell has a number of convictions, including for cultivating cannabis. The judge said he did not believe he could depart from the mandatory minimum sentence in this case and he jailed Powell for 11 years.
Sentencing Graham, Judge Nolan noted he was at the lowest rung of the drug dealing enterprise and was involved in distributing the drugs. He said if Graham had no criminal record he would have set a sentence of six years. Taking into account his other convictions, the judge jailed Graham for eight and a half years.
He backdated the sentences to June 2022, when both men went into custody.