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red his rights Dad-of-three with tens of thousands worth of drugs jailed after running red light

Darren Caffery had his eight-year-old son in the van when a large quantity of cocaine was found

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1/7/2021
Darren Caffrey, 37yrs, of Claddagh Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin pictured at the Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) on Parkgate Street in Dublin. Pic: Collins Courts

1/7/2021 Darren Caffrey, 37yrs, of Claddagh Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin pictured at the Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) on Parkgate Street in Dublin. Pic: Collins Courts

1/7/2021 Darren Caffrey, 37yrs, of Claddagh Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin pictured at the Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) on Parkgate Street in Dublin. Pic: Collins Courts

A father-of-three who was stopped by gardai after driving through a red light and was found in possession of tens of thousands of euro worth of illegal drugs has been jailed for five years.

Darren Caffrey (37) was driving with his then eight-year-old son when his van was searched by gardaí, who found a quantity of Zopiclone tablets and €27,314 of cocaine.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that during a search of another car, gardaí discovered further Zopiclone tablets and €39,284 of heroin.

Caffrey with an address at Claddagh Road, Ballyfermot, pleaded guilty to possession of heroin, cocaine and Zopiclone tablets for sale or supply at Ushers Quay and Oliver Bond Flats, Dublin City centre, on May 14 and 15, 2020.

He has 207 previous convictions, including convictions for assault, handling stolen property, possession of a mobile phone in prison and 175 road traffic offences. He has no previous convictions for drugs offences.

Garda Ciaran O'Neil told Derek Cooney BL, prosecuting, that Caffrey was stopped by gardaí on Ushers Quay in the city centre after driving through a red light in a horsebox van which also contained his then eight-year-old son.

Gda O'Neil said he asked why Caffrey was driving, as he knew him to be disqualified at the time, and the accused said he was only going to park the van in the nearby Oliver Bond flats and asked gardaí not to seize the van.

Gardaí seized the van and arrested Caffrey. During a later search of the van, gardaí discovered a bag located behind the driver's seat which contained cocaine and Zopliclone tablets.

The keys for an Audi car were found in Caffrey's possession following his arrest and when asked where this car was, he claimed it was outside his address in Ballyfermot. Gardaí went to this address, but did not find the Audi car.

As Caffrey had told them he was driving the van to Oliver Bond flats, gardaí attended at this address and found the Audi car parked there. During a search of this car, gardaí discovered a bag containing heroin and a cardboard box containing further Zopiclone tablets.

The total value of all of the drugs found at both locations was €76,594.

Gda O'Neil agreed with Dean Kelly SC, defending, that his client made full admissions during interview. He agreed that there would be those above Caffrey in the food chain who would have been “displeased” with the events of the night.

The garda agreed with counsel that there have been some road traffic matters involving his client since this offence, but nothing else had come to the attention of gardaí.

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Mr Kelly said his client was “almost killed” in a road traffic accident and was in intensive care for two months. He said his client had “socially” used cocaine and this increased “at a somewhat rapid rate” after this accident.

Counsel said his client has received a compensation payment of around €250,000 as a result of the accident and used the money to purchase a house outside the city. He said Caffrey had done this to remove himself and his children from the “temptations” his client fell afoul of while living in the city.

Mr Kelly said that while his client “is no angel”, it cannot be gainsaid that his absence in terms of imprisonment will deal “a devastating blow to his family”.

Judge Melanie Greally said Caffrey “ironically” came to garda attention as a result of running a red light.

Judge Greally said in terms of his culpability, he is said to be somebody who had a cocaine habit which escalated, which is maintained by implication that this was a contributing factor for the offences.

She said the accused man's involvement was “higher than that of a courier or storer”. She said she is of the view that he was “actively involved” in the supply of drugs.

Judge Greally sentenced Caffrey to six-and-a-half years imprisonment, but suspended the final 18 months of the sentence on strict conditions.

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