A SOUTHILL man who was paid €100 a week to store heroin for criminal elements has been jailed for three years.
Earlier this year, John Mullins, aged 44, of O’Malley Park pleaded guilty to possession of a large quantity of drugs for the purpose of sale or supply on January 23, 2012.
Judge Carroll Moran was told the drugs were seized when gardai searched a house in O’Malley Park after receiving confidential information that drugs were being stored there.
During the search 207 grammes of heroin, with a street value of €31,103, was found in a back bedroom.
During a sentencing heard, Garda Conor McNamara said the defendant, who is a family support worker, made immediate admissions in relation to the drugs even though he was not present when gardai called to the house.
Mullins told gardai he did not own the drugs and that he had been asked to store them by a well-known criminal.
The court heard that while he was paid €100 a week, he was also threatened that his “legs would be blown off” if he did not store the drugs.
Although the defendant did not identify the man who gave him the drugs, John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, accepted submissions from Andrew Sexton SC that the individual “couldn’t be more sinister or more dangerous”.
Imposing sentence, Judge Moran said it was “commendable and striking” that, given his age, Mullins does not have any previous convictions.
He also noted the contribution he has made to the local community in O’Malley Work through his involvement is several projects, such as the recent restoration of a grotto in the area.
The judge said it was a mitigating factor that Mullins was not the owner of the drugs and he said his admissions had been of “material assistance” in the case.
However, the judge noted that cases involving possession of large amounts of drugs are regarded as very serious offences.
He added that heroin, in particular, is one of the most insidious drugs and he said while the role played by Mullins was relatively minor, it was important.
“A store-man or courier is an essential cog in the this illicit “drugs) business.”
The judge said after balancing the mitigating and aggravating factors in the case, he believed the appropriate sentence was three years imprisonment.
After imposing the sentence, he said it would have been unjust to impose the minimum mandatory sentence of ten years imprisonment.