Football coach thought garda cocaine raid had been a burglary

NewsBy Sunday World

A FOOTBALL coach was caught with more than €1,600 worth of cocaine in a garda house raid, a court heard.

Lee Cronin (31) was out at the time of the search and when he returned he thought the house had been burgled and reported it to gardai.

When they told him they had found a block of cocaine, he admitted responsibility.

Cronin, a barber from Inagh Road, Ballyfermot, admitted possession of cocaine for sale or supply, as well as having a smaller amount of cannabis.

The offences happened at another address in Ballyfermot – Oranmore Road – on February 4, 2016.

Judge Michael Walsh adjourned the case for a pre-sentence probation report.

A garda sergeant told Dublin District Court a house was searched on foot of a warrant.

Gardai found the cocaine and cannabis while in the house.

The cocaine had a street value of €1,690 when analysed and the cannabis was worth €107.

Judge Michael Walsh initially said he was refusing jurisdiction as he considered it too serious due to the amount of cocaine found.

Defence solicitor Lorraine Stephens said the accused had been living in the house and was not there while the search was carried out.

He thought the house had been burgled and went to Ballyfermot Garda Station. When told about the drugs found, he took responsibility.

He had been using cocaine at the time. Judge Walsh said it was not being suggested that all the cocaine was for Cronin’s personal use.

Ms Stephens said it was a full block of cocaine and the accused was to hold it for someone else and then hand it over.

He had entered a very early guilty plea to the charges, she said.

The accused was a self-employed barber and was involved in soccer and coaching, Ms Stephens said.

A number of certificates were presented to the court.

Ms Stephens asked the judge to adjourn the case and request a restorative justice programme report.

The judge said the case was too serious and adjourned it.

“You heard the amount (of drugs involved),” he told Ms Stephens.

When proceedings resumed, he said he had decided to accept jurisdiction.

This means the charges will be dealt with at district court level.

“It’s marginal enough,” the judge said.

He adjourned the case to a date in July for full facts to be given and a penalty imposed.