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Man caught with nearly €300,000 worth of 'Zimos'

CourtsBy Sunday World
Zopiclone, or Zimos
Zopiclone, or Zimos

A man who agreed to transport boxes of prescription medication to pay off a drug debt has been ordered to do 240 hours of community service

Alan McDermott (54) was caught with 149,352 of Zopiclone tablets, also known as Zimos, which are used to treat extreme insomnia. The drug is not illegal but people in possession of them need a license to sell prescription medication.

McDermott of Clonliffe Avenue, Clonliffe Road, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to keeping for supply a substance without a medical prescription on Philipsburgh Avenue on August 16, 2014. He has no previous convictions.

Judge Melanie Greally suspended a three year prison sentence after the Probation Service had assessed him as suitable for community service.

Garda Brian Foran told Fionnuala O'Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that gardaí had the Drumcondra area under surveillance following a tip off and spotted McDermott driving into the car-park of the Regency Hotel.

He reversed his car towards the back of another vehicle before both drivers opened their rear doors and a number of boxes were placed in the back of McDermott's vehicle.

Both vehicles then left in convoy.

McDermott was stopped on Philipsburgh Avenue and a number of boxes were found in the back of his van. The drugs discovered within those boxes had a value of €298,704 if sold on the black market.

McDermott told gardaí in interview that he had agreed to get involved in order to pay off a drug debt. He was to park the van outside a cafe in Marino and leave the doors unlocked.

He was told to go off and have a pint and he presumed that when he would come back the boxes would have been moved.

He said he didn't know what was in the boxes. “I never asked. I just wanted to pay off a debt. I was told I had nothing to worry about,” McDermott told gardaí.

Garda Foran agreed with Tony McGillicuddy BL, defending, that his client had a specific role and that he didn't realise the gravity of what he was getting involved in.

Mr McGillicuddy said McDermott made a “dreadful decision” and didn't realise the seriousness of his actions. His conviction had brought him shame and embarrassment, counsel told Judge Greally.

By Sonya McLean