Limerick Circuit Court
A CONVICTED drug dealer who was caught with a significant quantity of heroin within months of being released from prison faces a mandatory ten-year-sentence a court has heard.
Patrick Hickey, aged 37, who has an address at Churchfield, St Patrick’s Road in the city has admitted having the drugs at two locations in the city almost two years ago.
During a sentencing hearing, Detective Garda David Boland of the divisional drugs unit said heroin worth around €57,000 was seized when the defendant was arrested and searched in the Rathbane area of the city.
He said when approached by gardai Mr Hickey who was sitting in the passenger seat of a parked car produced a package from inside his trousers which contained the drugs.
A further quantity of heroin, worth around €27,000, was seized in the defendant’s bedroom during a follow-up search at his home.
Detective Garda Boland told John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, the defendant was co-operative with gardai and made admissions following his arrest.
He told gardai he had been given the consignment of drugs a number of days earlier and was asked to drop it to an unknown person.
“He had his own discretion as to when he would drop it off,” he said.
Judge Tom O’Donnell was told the former security guard was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in 2011 after he pleaded guilty to possession of a cannabis worth around €36,000 in Dromkeen in 2010.
Det Garda Boland said the defendant was threatened following his release from prison by the owners of the cannabis who, he said, wanted their money back.
Colman Cody SC said there was an element of duress as his client had been put “under pressure to pay back a debt for the drugs lost”.
He said there are some “mental health issues” in the background and he told the court that Mr Hickey’s addiction problems “spiralled out of control” following his mother’s death a number of years ago.
He said the defendant, who is working, appreciates he is going to jail but said he is anxious to sort out his affairs.
John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, said the law dictates that anyone convicted of a second offence under Section 15(a) of the Misuse of Drugs Act must receive the mandatory sentence of ten years’ imprisonment.
Judge O’Donnell adjourned sentencing to May 2 next as he wishes to consider the various reports and character references which were submitted to the court on behalf of Mr Hickey.