Limerick man who was selling cocaine from ice-cream van jailed

 Two year sentence to be served consecutively to sentence imposed last year

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Limerick man who was selling cocaine from ice-cream van jailed

Paul Collopy of Glenbrook, Ballysimon pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine for the purpose of sale or supply

A CONVICTED drug dealer who was selling wholesale quantities of cocaine from a mobile ice-cream van at parks and public events has been jailed for two years.

Paul Collopy, aged 41, who has an address at Glenbrook, Bloodmill Road, previously admitted having a large quantity of cocaine for the purpose of sale or supply on November 25, 2014.

The drugs, which had a street value of around €6,000, were found concealed in and ice-cream van which was parked outside his home

Collopy was removing a tub of cocaine from the engine block under the bonnet when gardai arrived.

A further quantity of cocaine was found in a money bag on a shelf in the van while €5,000 – the proceeds of drug dealing – was found inside the house.

The bag also contained two "tick lists" which indicated around €45,000 worth of cocaine had been sold.

Detective Garda David McGrath said Collopy was a “chronic cocaine and crack cocaine addict” and that he believed he was acting as a “drugs wholesaler rather than a street dealer”.

Collopy started transporting coal on a horse and cart when younger but after getting involved in the ice cream business, discovered it was an easy way to hide and sell drugs.

Det Garda McGrath said the father-of-three, who has 70 previous convictions, was spending up to €200 a day to feed his habit around the time of the offence.

He previously served a five year prison sentence after he was convicted, in December 2007, of possession of cocaine worth around €17,000.

He was released in 2011 but received a further lengthy prison sentence last year after he admitted having heroin, worth almost €27,000 in Ennis on November 22, 2015 - two months after he was charged in connection with the Limerick offence.

Imposing sentence, Judge Tom O’Donnell noted there was a “commercial element” to the defendant’s offending and that he was an “active dealer”.

He said Collopy’s admissions and guilty plea were mitigating factors as was the fact he is making efforts to with his addictions.

Noting the defendant is currently serving a six year prison sentence (for the Ennis offence) the judge said he had to be conscious of the “principal of totality”. He imposed a four year sentence, suspending the final two years.

The sentence is to be served consecutively to the sentence he is currently serving.