A TEENAGE boy who admitted operating a drug-dealing business in a County Limerick village was sentenced to two years imprisonment.
Jamie Ryan, aged 18, with an address at Castle Erkin, Pallasgreen pleaded guilty to possession of quantities of cannabis and ecstasy for the purpose of sale or supply at the Old Creamery, Turagh, Cappamore on October 10, 2011.
During a sentencing hearing, Det Garda Michael Reidy said he and a colleague, Garda Bill Collins, were carrying out a surveillance operation during which they observed the accused and another youth arriving at the Old Creamery in a blue Nissan Micra.
A short time later, Ryan, who was 17 at the time, was observed hiding a sports bag in undergrowth, which was found to contain the drugs.
Det Garda Reidy said cannabis, worth €8,132, was recovered along with 280 ecstasy tablets, worth €560.
The defendant made “full and frank admissions” following his arrest telling gardai he had started selling drugs around six weeks earlier.
Judge Carroll Moran was told Ryan admitted he was operating a “business venture for gain” and that the second youth was employed by him.
John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting told the court, the Director of Public Prosecutions had initially consented to matter being dealt with before the district court but that Judge Eugene O’Kelly had refused jurisdiction because of the value of the drugs seized.
In mitigation, Michael Fitzgibbon BL told the court his client has been “on the straight and narrow” and has not been in trouble since the incident.
He said he had learned a “salutary lesson” and that he believed it was “one and only foray into criminal activity”.
Mr Fitzgibbon said Ryan, who now lives in County Tipperary, is in a stable relationship and that his partner is due to have their first child this summer.
Imposing sentence, Judge Moran said there were a number of aggravating factors in the case such as the fact that he was “acting on his own behalf” and was the owner of the drugs.
He said the quantity of drugs seized was “substantial enough” and that he had great sympathy for Ryan’s parents.
“It is the sort of case that breaks my heart,” he said as he sentenced Ryan to two years imprisonment.
There were emotional and tearful scenes in the courtroom as the sentence was handed down and the accused was being led from the courtroom.
Previously at Limerick District Court, the second accused, who can’t be named, was placed on probation for his role in the offence.