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snort a good idea Nervous Dublin man caught walking with €61k worth of cocaine in his jacket jailed

Philip Cooke (34) admitted to gardaí he had cocaine and replied “a lot” when they asked how much

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Intercepted shipments in Sweden and Ireland resulted in the seizure of about 1,200 kilograms of narcotics worth an approximate €35 million (stock photo)

Intercepted shipments in Sweden and Ireland resulted in the seizure of about 1,200 kilograms of narcotics worth an approximate €35 million (stock photo)

Intercepted shipments in Sweden and Ireland resulted in the seizure of about 1,200 kilograms of narcotics worth an approximate €35 million (stock photo)

A man who aroused gardaí’s suspicions because of his nervous and agitated behaviour has been jailed for two and half years for carrying just over €61,000 worth of cocaine.

Philip Cooke (34) was hiding the cocaine under his jacket while out walking. Gardaí who were on mobile patrol stopped him because he was acting suspiciously and appeared to be in a hurry.

“He was very nervous and looking around himself, holding his jacket in a way that suggested he was concealing something,” Garda Paula Carter confirmed.

She told Siobhán Ní Chúlacháin BL, prosecuting, that Cooke told gardaí he had cocaine when they asked and told them “a lot” when they enquired as to how much drugs he had.

Cooke then unzipped his jacket and revealed a blue shopping bag holding eight bags of suspected cocaine. The drugs were later analysed and confirmed to be cocaine with an estimated street value of €61,684.

Cooke of Foxhill Park, Ayrfield, Dublin 13, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to having the drugs for sale or supply on Greencastle Road, Coolock, on December 14, 2020.  He has no previous convictions.

Gda Carter agreed with Mícheál O’Higgins SC, defending, that Cooke was co-operative at all times with the garda investigation.

She agreed with a suggestion that it was “a chance encounter” and “good police work” that led to Cooke’s arrest as he was not a man who was “on the garda radar or under surveillance” at the time.

Mr O’Higgins said his client had run up a €6,000 drug debt due to his own addiction to cocaine which he was taking two to three times per week. He had agreed to carry the drugs to reduce his debt.

Counsel said his client was the father of a young child and lives with his parents who have some medical difficulties. They said their son is a tremendous help to them and contributes to their household bills.

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A probation report previously ordered for the court was favourable, Mr O’Higgins said.

Judge Melanie Greally acknowledged that Cooke has engaged well with the Probation Service and said that they have set out suggested programmes that will “hopefully motivate him to address his addiction”. She accepted he is deemed to be at a moderate risk of re-offending.

She took into account the role he played by acting as courier and accepted that his motivation was “to discharge an existing drug debt”.

Judge Greally set a headline sentence of five and half years. She took into account his plea of guilty, his lack of previous convictions, his family support and engagement with the Probation Service.

She imposed a four-year sentence and suspended the final 18 months on strict conditions including that he engage with the Probation Service for 12 months upon his release from custody.

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