ILLICIT drugs worth almost €200,000 were concealed in cushions and posted to a house in a Limerick village, a court has heard.
However, the package was intercepted by gardai and customs officers who then carried out a controlled delivery and arrested the intended recipient.
Having initially pleaded not guilty, Alan O’Regan, 41, who has an address at Kylefea, Croom changed his plea in April and admitted possession of quantities of cannabis and cocaine for the purpose of sale or supply on October 14, 2016.
During a sentencing hearing, Detective Garda Declan O’Halloran of the divisional drugs unit told Limerick Circuit Court gardai were alerted to a suspicious package after it arrived at a postal depot in Limerick from Amsterdam.
The package, he said, contained two large cushions which had vacuum-packed plastic packs containing drugs concealed inside.
Judge Tom O’Donnell was told gardai called to Mr O’Regan’s address at around 12.30pm and that he was arrested when he accepted and signed for the package.
More than 5kgs of cannabis, with an estimated street value of €110,000 and 1kg of cocaine, worth €70,245, were discovered when the package was examined further.
During interview, the defendant told gardai he owed a €40,000 drug debt and that he had been instructed by another individual to take possession of the package and to pass it on.
Mr O’Regan, who is originally from elsewhere in Croom, told gardai he couldn’t go to his home address as “people were looking for him” and that the windows had been put in.
He said he first got into debt in 2010 after he was blamed for the “loss” of 2kg of drugs which had been posted to him. Those drugs had a value of around €28,000.
Colman Cody SC said his client knew the package contained drugs but was surprised at the quantity involved. “He expected a small quantity of cocaine,” he said noting Mr O’Regan told gardai “I am shocked, that’s me f***** anyway” when informed of the street value.
He said Mr O’Regan had been contacted a number of days earlier and was told a “huge chunk” of his debt would be knocked off if he took delivery of the package.
“He accepted the package for a third party. he has no trappings of wealth,” said Mr Cody who said his client has alienated himself from his family.
The barrister said Mr O’Regan had found himself “in the grip of far more sinister fellas” and that there was an element of relief when he was caught.
Judge O’Donnell adjourned the matter to December saying he needed time to consider several reports and testimonials which were submitted to the court.