Patrick Casey (35) fled the country after he managed to evade gardaí in the wake of a high speed chase eight years ago, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard today.
Just over €700,000 worth of cannabis and cocaine was found in his car, while just under €2 million worth of the same drugs was seized when gardaí raided his home in Raheny, Sergeant James Muldowney told John Moher BL, prosecuting.
Casey, with an address at The Cornmill Apartments, Distillery Road, Dublin 1, pleaded guilty to possessing the drugs for sale or supply at Marigold Ave, Darndale and Tonlegee Road, Raheny on March 7, 2014.
He has eight previous convictions, including a drug dealing conviction for which he was jailed when he was 20.
Dean Kelly SC, defending, told the court that his client was an underage hurler and footballer and played for the Dublin minors hurling team as a teenager, but that a drug habit ended his sporting career.
After he fled to the UK in the wake of this incident in 2014, Casey weaned himself off drugs and started a new life, working full-time and becoming a father to two children.
Mr Kelly said Casey was in fear of a certain individual who was murdered in 2020 and that he then felt safe to return to Ireland. He was arrested in July 2021 and has been in custody since.
Sentencing him today, Judge Martin Nolan said it was clear Casey was involved in transporting and distributing “a huge amount of drugs”. The judge noted Casey had a prior conviction for drug dealing.
He noted that although Casey fled the jurisdiction, he also rehabilitated himself while in London and started a new life. “He is capable of reform and he has abilities,” the judge said. He handed down a sentence of nine years.
Sgt Muldowney told the sentence hearing that in 2014, gardaí were carrying out a drugs operation in the Coolock area and Casey was put under surveillance. On the day in question, he was observed putting black bags into the boot of his car and driving off.
When pursued by gardaí, Casey initially pulled over but then accelerated away from the scene. The chase ended when he crashed into a wall. Casey then fled the scene, managing to evade gardaí and he left the country.
Mr Kelly told the court that his client had a troubled childhood and an abusive father, but managed to do well in school and sport until he started taking drugs as a teenager.
He was jailed for eight years in 2007 for a drugs-related offence, although this was later reduced by the Court of Appeal to five years with the final two years suspended, the court heard.
Defence counsel said prison had a “devastating” effect on Casey and he emerged from jail with a drug addiction. After he fled to London, he went off drugs cold turkey and managed to turn his life around, the court heard.
Since his return to Ireland in 2020 he has been involved in his local GAA club, the court heard.
Mr Kelly handed in a number of testimonials to the court, including one from the club, which described him as being a “committed and honest” member of the team.