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major seizure ‘Family man’ jailed for seven-and-a-half years over €2m drugs bust

The court that Kelly had built up a high level of personal debt and was under enormous financial pressure at the time.

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A family man who was caught with over €2m worth of cocaine and heroin has been jailed for seven-and-a-half years.

Raymond Kelly (52), of Tor Na Rí Terrace, Clondalkin, Dublin, was caught moving the drugs when gardaí stopped the car he was driving at Parkwest Road, Ballyfermot on the evening of September 27, 2019.

The stop and search followed an earlier interception of a car in the Ballyfermot area when gardaí found approximately 20 kilos of heroin and cocaine.

Gardaí arrested Kelly and carried out a search of a garage in the Kylemore Industrial Estate where Kelly was living at the time. During this search gardaí found cannabis resin with an estimated street value of approximately €10,000.

The court heard that the combined estimated street value of the drugs was approximately €2.1million.

Dara Hayes BL, prosecuting, said that Kelly subsequently pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the drugs for sale or supply.

Micheal Bowman SC, defending, told the court that Kelly had built up a high level of personal debt and was under enormous financial pressure at the time.

The court heard he was promised a small amount of money if he took part in the drugs operation and he only did so because of a sense of vulnerability and overwhelming helplessness.

Mr Bowman said his client was not a criminal mastermind but was used as an “essential cog” in the drugs trade by the true owners of the drugs, who were insulated from prosecution because of Kelly's fear.

He said Kelly had worked his entire life and had made a positive contribution to society. He said his involvement in this crime was uncharacteristic.

“He will be forever marked and remembered as the person who went to prison at a time his family needed him the most,” Mr Bowman said.

Judge Karen O'Connor said she had to mark the seriousness of the offence. She said the main aggravating factor was the quantity of drugs involved.

She imposed the sentence to date from yesterday.

The court heard that the operation was carried out by gardaí attached to the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau and was based on confidential information.

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