Man caught with over €700k of cocaine in Tallaght


A man who was caught with over €700,000 of cocaine in his car has been jailed for five and a half years.

Francis Fitzpatrick (37) was moving the drugs to pay off a debt he ran up during a ten year cocaine habit which has also left a hole in his palate.

Fitzpatrick, of Kilmartin Avenue, Tallaght Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the drugs on the Tallaght by-pass on November 27, 2015. He has one minor previous conviction.

Judge Martin Nolan said while he felt the circumstances of the case allowed him to depart from a presumptive mandatory of ten years applicable to this offence, it was still a serious amount of drugs. He imposed a five and a half year sentence.

Detective Garda Val Russell told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that acting on information concerning the movement of drugs, gardai stopped Fitzpatrick's blue BMW at the junction of Killinarden Heights.

They searched the vehicle and found a package containing 11 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of €770,539. He told gardai he had picked it up earlier in order to pay off a drug debt of eight to ten thousand euro. He was to receive further instructions.

He told garda he had been using cocaine for ten years and was afraid of the people he owed money to. He did not feel as if he had a choice. He said it was a “one off” to clear his debt.

After two “tick lists” were found in a search on his home he admitted he had also been selling some drugs to feed his own habit.

Det Gda Russell agreed with Damien Colgan SC, defending, that Fitzpatrick was co-operative and told them he wished he had the opportunity to say no to becoming involved but he was in fear for his life.

Mr Colgan said Fitzpatrick came from a decent law abiding family and had a good work record. He asked the court to take into account the genuine steps he had taken towards rehabilitation.

The court heard he was now drug free and was assisting his mother in caring for his ill father.