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Father of one jailed for three years after he was caught with over €88,000 worth of cannabis

CourtsBy Sunday World
Father of one jailed for three years after he was caught with over €88,000 worth of cannabis

A father of one who agreed to break up cannabis into deals to prepare it for distribution has been jailed for three years after he was caught with over €88,000 worth of the drugs and shotgun cartridges at his home.

Darren Raymond (45) of Loch Conn Terrace, Ballyfermot, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the cannabis for sale or supply and the ammunition at his home on August 8, 2014. He has no previous convictions.

Garda Stephen Coller told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that gardaí searched Raymond's home following a surveillance operation when they received a tip off that drugs were being sold from the house.

He said the drugs, worth an estimated €88,000, and paraphernalia were found in the bedroom. Twenty five 34-gauge shotgun cartridges were discovered in a suitcase in a garden shed.

A smaller amount of cannabis, worth €820, was later found following a search of the van Raymond used in his work as a self-employed driver.

He told gardaí in interview that he had been storing the drugs since the previous February or March but refused to name the people he was doing this on behalf of because he was in fear.

Raymond later admitted he had been paid €700 per week to break the cannabis into deals and leave it at his home for collection. He said he had been under “severe financial pressure” at the time.

He had been involved in a previous car accident during which his hip was injured and while he was un-insured. He secured a loan of €15,000 from “certain people” in order to pay out informal compensation.

Gda Coller agreed with Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, defending, that Raymond had been acting under the instructions of others and that the shot gun cartridges had been placed in the shed unbeknownst to him.

He also accepted that Raymond had been involved in a previous car accident during which his hip was injured and while he was un-insured and that he had secured a loan of €15,000 from “certain people” in order to pay out informal compensation.

Raymond was not at home at the time of the search but gardaí phoned him and he told officers that they would find drugs in a back bedroom in his house. He later signed the garda's notebook entries of that phone conversation and made full admissions in an interview.

Counsel told Judge Martin Nolan that his client had a cannabis addiction at the time but has since received d treatment. He said Raymond was an excellent father to his son and handed in letters from the boy's mother and the accused's friends stating this.

Mr O'Lideadha also handed in letters detailing his client's work in the local community including his voluntary role with a homeless charity.

Counsel said his client was relieved when he was caught because “in a way he felt his life was being taken over by these people”.

Judge Nolan accepted that Raymond's function was to set up the deals and provide them ready for distribution.

He further accepted that third parties were running the operation but described Raymond as a useful person in the enterprise and noted that he had been paid for his role.

Judge Nolan said Raymond was a good and kind family man who has done service to his community and acknowledged that he had co-operated with the gardaí, was remorseful for what he had done and that the crime represented “a once off fall from grace”.

“He was, however, a mature man who should have known better. It was a serious misjudgement and for that he must undergo a prison sentence,” Judge Nolan said.