Limerick man stored drugs and gun on railway track

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

Limerick Courthouse, Merchant's Quay 11-12-12
A MAN who agreed to store ecstasy and a rifle to reduce a €3,000 drug debt has been sentenced to three years in prison.

A MAN who agreed to store ecstasy and a rifle to reduce a €3,000 drug debt has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Gary Curtin, 23, of Railway House, Spitland, Old Cork Road, pleaded guilty to possession of a .22-calibre Anschutz rifle and 4800 ecstasy tablets with a value of over €24,000 on June 14, 2011.

The items were found by gardai by the railway track to the rear of his house, which officers had searched under warrant on the date in question. The court heard that the firearm had been wrapped in a plastic bag which was found to have Curtin’s fingerprints on it.

Anthony Sammon SC, defending, put it to Det Garda Niall Fitzgerald that Curtin’s “involvement in these offences arise from his accumulation of significant drug debt and he told you that was why he was storing the drugs and the firearm, that it was to reduce his own indebtedness – he owed around €3,000 at that time”.

The accused was a chronic smoker of cannabis who had just turned 21 at the time.

John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, accepted that the two offences were part “of a single cache” but “the fact that one of them was a deadly weapon makes this a serious offence”.

Sentencing Curtin, Judge Carroll Moran said he had to consider a number of mitigating factors, including the early plea of guilty and co-operation with gardai which was of material assistance to the prosecution.

“I also have to consider that he was a storeman and not the owner of the drugs. And while storemen and couriers are essential in the drug-trafficking business, they are at a lower level of culpability than owners or dealers,” the judge said.

He sentenced Curtin to a total of three years imprisonment, backdated to April 26.

In doing so, the judge said it would be unjust to impose the mandatory minimum sentences which apply in relation to each of the offences.