Drugs kingpin jailed for ten years

John Heaphy
John Heaphy

THE MR BIG of Cork’s drug scene has been locked away for 10 years.

John Heaphy (64), was out of jail for less than 12 months on a previous drug charge when he was caught with heroin worth an estimated €37,000 in Cork last year.

Heaphy, with an address at Kerryhall Road, Fairhill, Cork, pleaded guilty to having the drugs at Halfway, Crossroads, Rathduff, Co. Cork, on February 15, 2014. 

He also pleaded guilty to the burning of cars in residential areas of Fairhill in May 2014.

Heaphy's wife Helen was nabbed last year selling cocaine outside a bingo hall, full story here.

Helen Heaphy

In jailing Heaphy, Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin at Cork Circuit Criminal Court said he was a “lifelong criminal in the drugs trade”.

Judge Ó Donnabháin imposed two years for the arson attacks, consecutive to the 10 years, but he suspended those two years.

This was the second time Heaphy was caught with drugs with a street value exceeding €13,000.

In 2008 Heaphy was caught with a large coffee jar full of ecstasy tablets.

Heaphy was sentenced at Cork Circuit Criminal Court for having €47,000 worth of illegal drugs and jailed for 12 years, with the last five years of the sentence suspended.

He had pleaded for leniency on that occasion, telling Judge Patrick J Moran:  “I know I am going to get jail, I will be a better person [after counselling in prison], I know you are a good judge and a good judge of character. I am asking you please don’t turn your back on me.”

Heaphy said he would like to give something back to society and talk to school children about the dangers of drugs.

But the judge said: “I have seen the harm done by drugs in this courtroom; young men coming in here shattered and in bits, all because they can buy drugs freely in this city.”

Heaphy had claimed the tablets were worth somewhere between €1 and €3 each but the jury disagreed and accepted the street value of €10 per tablet given by the gardaí.

The significance of this valuation is that having drugs worth more than €13,000 carries on conviction a sentence of up to life imprisonment with a minimum mandatory term of 10 years.

Detective Sergeant Lar O’Brien, who was involved in the stakeout, said Heaphy was interviewed three times over a two-day period after his arrest.

“He did make admissions on his own involvement but was of no material assistance on the origin or destination of the drugs,” the detective said.

Heaphy told him he had destroyed the lives of family members by his involvement in the dealing of drugs.

“He admitted being involved in the supply of drugs over a 20-year period and that drug dealing was his way of life and he knew nothing else… He was involved in a multi-million euro drugs enterprise,” Detective Sgt O’Brien said.