THE former partner of a Limerick criminal was “in fear” when she agreed to transport almost €2,000 worth of prescription drugs across the city, Limerick District Court has been told.
Kirdwin Johnson, 25, of Grattan Court, Old Clare Street, pleaded guilty to possession of alprazolam, or Xanax, tablets for sale or supply on April 22, 2010.
Sgt Donal Cronin said her car had been stopped at Kileely Road by Det Garda David Baynham of the divisional drug unit on that date. While an initial search of the car had proven negative, gardai found 900 tablets in a cassette player in the back of the vehicle. Sgt Cronin said the street value of the drugs was €1,932.
Ms Johnson further pleaded guilty to threatening and abusive behaviour in a separate incident at St Ita’s Street, St Mary’s Park, on July 16, 2010. A large group of people had been observed “roaring and shouting at each other” on the street, Sgt Cronin said, and gardai were of the view that Ms Johnson was “one of the main participants”.
While the accused had only two prior convictions dating back to 2006, Judge Eugene O’Kelly expressed concern that they were “of some significance”, relating to firearms.
Solicitor Ted McCarthy said of the drug offence that her “partner of the time was well-known to gardai in Limerick who since that time has received a lengthy sentence in Spain”.
His client had been “directed by persons she was in fear of to go to a certain place to collect them and then drop them off - she was under pressure to so do”, Mr McCarthy said.
A member of Ms Johnson’s family, he added, was also “in debt to certain persons at the time”. Following the drug seizure, Ms Johnson had come under threat in her home. She had since left the St Mary’s Park area and had “managed to extricate herself from that duress”, Mr McCarthy said.
Judge O’Kelly observed that Ms Johnson had been transporting a significant quantity of drugs.
“There must be some deterrent no matter what kind of pressure she was under,” he said.
Ms Johnson’s suitability for 90 hours of community service, in lieu of three months in prison, is to be assessed by the Probation and Welfare Service on the public order charge.
The case was adjourned for service of that report on May 22, a date on which the drug charge will also be finalised.