Dublin man caught with guns, ammunition and €480k worth of cocaine and ecstasy tablets

Ken McDermott
Ken McDermott

An unemployed courier will be sentenced later this month for unlawful possession of guns, ammunition and just over €480,000 worth of ecstasy tablets and cocaine.

Father-of-three Ken McDermott (47) told gardai that he agreed to take part in the importation operation to support his family. He was arrested after detectives received confidential information about a planned importation of firearms at Dublin Port.

McDermott of Glenties Road., Finglas,  Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession for sale or supply of controlled drugs and unlawful possession of firearms at Cardiffsbridge Road, Finglas on May 27, 2015.

A surveillance operation was set up to monitor a vehicle transporter arriving at the port. This was followed to a car park in Finglas, Dublin city and a Citroen car was driven off the transporter and parked up.

McDermott was then seen arriving in a white van and taking two rucksacks from the Citroen to the van. He then drove the van to Finglas where detectives moved in and arrested him.

One of the rucksacks, which was locked with a small travel lock, was found to contain a .32 Colt revolver and a .38 Remington revolver, and seven rounds of working ammunition. This bag also contained cocaine with an estimated street value of €219,104.

Four vacuum pack packages of ecstasy tablets, with an estimated value of €256,820 were discovered inside a hold-all bag. A slab of cocaine worth an estimated €17,444 was found in the driver's footwell of the car while just over a kilo of lignocaine and caffeine was found in the passenger's footwell.

The total estimated street value of the controlled drugs discovered in the van was €483,372.

Garda Detective Brian McDermott told Pieter LeVert BL, prosecuting, that the accused had run his own van courier business for 20 years but that it had gone under recently.

After his arrest he admitted knowing there was something illegal in the bags but said he didn't know it contained guns.

"I've a family to look after, and I'll take responsibility for what I did, but I had to look after my family," he said.

He told them he thought it was a much less serious offence and that he nearly "shit bricks" when he saw the armed gardai appearing to arrest him.

His only previous convictions are for minor offences committed in the eighties.

McDermott's sister-in-law, Ann Doyle, said that the time of the offence was a dark time for him financially as there were bills "left, right, and centre" and a mortgage "climbing the walls".

She said he saw an opportunity and took it but he regretted it to this day. She said he had hit rock bottom since his arrest but he was back working and trying to piece his life together.

Judge Melanie Greally said she needed time to consider her sentence and adjourned the matter to November 16 next.

Declan Brennan