Limerick tiling contractor jailed for dealing cocaine

A LIMERICK tiling contractor has been jailed for two years after cocaine with a street value of €14,000 was found at his home in Drombanna.

A LIMERICK tiling contractor has been jailed for two years after cocaine with a street value of €14,000 was found at his home in Drombanna.

Limerick Circuit Court heard that Alan Collins knew he faced a custodial sentence for possession of the drug for sale or supply, and he sent his three children to a counsellor to prepare them for their father's imprisonment.

The 37-year-old admitted to gardai that he had been selling cocaine for five months prior to his arrest.

Garda Paul Crowley of Roxboro Garda Station told the court that gardai received information that the accused had a substantial quantity of cocaine at his home in White Oaks, Drombanna and on December 4, they searched the house under warrant.

Over 130 grammes of cocaine was found hidden in pipes inside a pillar across the road from his house, in water mains, and in Mr Collin's bedroom. The court was told that Mr Collins maintained that he was storing the drugs found wrapped in plastic and concealed in two pipes in a pillar for somebody else.

Over €13,000 in cash was found in a wallet in Mr Collins' jeep, in a bedroom and on a mantelpiece, and the court was told that it was the gardai's belief that the money was the proceeds of drug dealing.

When Mr Collins was being questioned in relation to the cocaine seizure at his home, he told investigating gardai that he had collected the drugs from Garryowen day earlier and planned to sell it for €20 a gramme profit.

He said the cocaine in the bedroom was for his personal use, to feed his three gramme a day habit.

Michael Collins, BL, for the defence, said it was not unusual for a tradesman to have cash at his home and noted that if the money seized was the proceeds of crime, "it would have been secreted away".

Sarah Cassidy, an addiction counsellor from a treatment centre in Cahir, Tipperary, said Mr Collins has taken part in a 28 day residential programme.

"This is very exceptional," she said in relation to her evidence on behalf of the defendant "It was decided that the progress was so profound that it required some advocacy."

Twelve written testimonials on Mr Collins' behalf were presented to the court, including a letter from Dr Aonghus McGann who said he was "personally disappointed" for the defendant that he would commit this crime. The doctor said it was the first time that he had written in support of a patient in such a situation.

Mr Collins, BL, said his client was a decent man with a good work history who had sought treatment for his cocaine addiction within weeks of his arrest.

"He was dealing for five months prior to his arrest and has to face up to the consequences of that," the barrister acknowledged.

Having heard the evidence, Judge Carroll Moran imposed a three year sentence and suspended the final year. He also ordered that €11,440 in cash seized should be forfeited to the state.

Judge Carroll Moran: imposed three year sentence