A 24-YEAR-OLD woman found with 300 Xanax tablets in her apartment said she was treating herself for seizures and bought the pills in bulk to save money.
Aoife O’Sullivan, of O’Curry Street, Limerick denied having the pills for sale or supply on June 1, 2012.
Detective Garda David McGrath told Limerick District Court that he had searched Ms O’Sullivan’s address on that date having received information that alprazolam, or Xanax, was being kept there for sale or supply.
Tablets in 30 packs of 10 were found in Ms O’Sullivan’s bedside locker. Det Garda McGrath had also found €1,340 in cash bundled into €50, €20, €10 and €5 denominations.
When Ms O’Sullivan returned to her apartment, she had told Det Garda McGrath that the pills were for her own use and for her boyfriend. Her explanation for the cash was that it was holiday money she had withdrawn from the bank in stages after receiving a €2079 disability payment five weeks before. When asked in an interview why she had wrapped the drugs, Ms O’Sullivan had replied: “I’m a bit of an OCD head”.
Solicitor Darrach McCarthy said his client had been undergoing tests at the time her apartment was searched. He produced a doctor’s letter from November 2014 confirming an epilepsy diagnosis.
“In her memo of interview with gardai, she mentions seizures and that she was taking these tablets for the seizures,” Mr McCarthy said.
He also handed in a copy of bank statement which confirmed she had been paid €2079 by the Department of Social Protection in April 2012.
She would buy pills in bulk for a cheaper price and having 300 tablets was “consistent with somebody who was self-medicating”, Mr McCarthy said.
“I think the amount found was far in excess of what anybody might need for themselves,” replied Det Garda McGrath.
Judge Eugene O’Kelly noted Ms O’Sullivan could offer no explanation for why she had the cash “bundled up into denominations in a very particular way”. Welfare payments, he observed, were in any event “not intended for the bulk buying of illicit drugs”.
He was satisfied to convict in the circumstances and sentenced Ms O’Sullivan to four months in prison, suspended for two years.