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'no conscience' Judge blasts drug barons during sentence hearing saying they are the 'greatest threat' facing Irish society

The remarks by Judge Keenan Johnson came during the sentence hearing of a man forced into drug dealing to pay off his own debts.

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Judge Keenan Johnson

Judge Keenan Johnson

Judge Keenan Johnson

Drug gangs are the biggest threat facing Irish society, according to a criminal court judge.

The remarks by Judge Keenan Johnson came during the sentence hearing of a man forced into drug dealing to pay off his own debts.

“The drug barons behind the drug trade in Ireland are the greatest threat facing the stability of our society,” he said.

Those behind the trade have “absolutely no moral compass or conscience” in their pursuit of money.

“The godfathers and masters of the drug trade in Ireland use subtle and deceptive methods to encourage and manipulate people to consume drugs and become addicts.”

“They are only interested in accumulating money and unfortunately the drugs trade seems to be a quick path to becoming extremely wealthy.”

“These drug barons and drug masters have no thought or consideration for the carnage that they are leaving in their pursuit of quick money from the sale and supply of illicit drugs.”

The man before Judge Johnson, Gerard Poynton (40) of Caddagh Cross, Delvin, Westmeath had pleaded guilty to five charges over the possession for cannabis, MDMA, ecstasy and cocaine for supply worth €26,486.

It had been heard in Mullingar Circuit Court how the married father of four had turned to drugs as he struggled to deal with multiple bereavements and mental health issues.

“The accused is a classic example of the type of person who unwittingly becomes ensnared in this type of illicit activity,” said Judge Johnson.

“It seems clear that the accused’s addiction to drugs blinded him to the consequences of what he was doing.”

Gardaí had raided Poynton’s home in September, 2018 where they discovered the drugs.

In interviews he told gardaí he had sold €5,000 worth the week before and that his drug debts had increased from €10,000 to over €25,000 because of his arrest.

The profits and methods of the drug gangs pose a major threat to society, according to the judge.

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“That is why it is so important to Criminal Assets Bureau pursue their ill-gotten gains especially when these drug barons provide sufficient distance between themselves and the criminality to make their prosecution for the illicit activities virtually impossible.”

Taking all the factors into account Judge Johnson sentenced Poynton to four-and-half years in prison but suspended the final three years.

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