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Dublin man who held valuable quantity of heroin to offset cocaine debt jailed

CourtsBy Sunday World
Noel Nolan
Noel Nolan

A labourer who claimed he held over €52,000 of heroin to offset a cocaine debt has been sentenced to four years in jail with two suspended.

Noel Nolan (29) of Clonmacnoise Road, Crumlin, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.to possessing 352 grams of heroin worth €52,810 at his home on October 24, 2014. He has three previous minor public order convictions.

Nolan had not been the target of a garda surveillance operation, which had been set up to track the movement of suspected drugs.

Garda Colleen Gallagher told the court that she and colleagues got a warrant to search an address after arresting a man who had come from the house with €5,000 of heroin.

Gda Gallagher told Paul Carroll BL, prosecuting, that Nolan had showed colleagues where the drugs were and made frank admissions during interview.

She said that he told gardai he had agreed to hold the heroin for a week to offset a cocaine debt.

Tara Burns SC, defending, submitted to Judge Melanie Greally that her client had held a full time job as a labourer until the recession hit.

She said that Nolan had a cocaine addiction at the time but was now drug free and looking for work.

Judge Greally had previously adjourned sentencing in the matter pending a Probation and Welfare Service report as the amount of the debt, seen by her on a document, didn't seem "particularly significant".

Ms Burns said today that her client admitted to the probation officer that what was actually "driving his behaviour was the desire to get more cocaine to feed his own habit".

Judge Greally accepted that the report was "very favourable" and concluded that Nolan had expressed remorse and insight into the affect his crime had on the wider community.

The judge said that "some element of custody is needed" before she suspended the final two years of the four-year sentence.

Aoife Nic Ardghail/Sonya McLean