A BALLYNANTY man who admitted storing a large quantity of drugs and a handgun for “sinister elements” has been jailed for four years.
Sean Purcell, aged 21, of Moylish Road, Ballynanty pleaded guilty, at Limerick Circuit Court, to possession of 24,710 Diazapam tablets and a small amount of cannabis at his home on November 30, 2011.
He also admitted possession of the firearm which was found hidden under a dog kennel in the back garden of house.
Det Garda Patrick Hogan, Mayorstone, said the Diazapam tablets were located in a box in the attic of the house while the cannabis was located in a lunchbox behind the washing machine in the kitchen.
Det Garda Hogan said total value of the drugs seized was just over €50,000.
The offences happened less than a month after Purcell was released from prison having served a sentence in relation to separate offences.
During a sentencing hearing, Judge Carroll Moran was told the defendant had accepted responsibility for the items at his home but that he had “retracted” some of the admissions while in garda custody.
However, Det Garda Hogan said the defendant’s fingerprints were found on the plastic bag in which the gun was wrapped.
Judge Moran was told the defendant has a string of previous convictions including several for drugs offences and more than a dozen for stealing cars.
Andrew Sexton SC, representing Purcell, said his client has a “very low intellect” and he agreed that he has an “unfortunate history of crime.”
He told the court there was an “element of vulnerability” as he was willing to store drugs at this home.
Mr Sexton urged the court to be lenient pointing out that the gun was not loaded and that Diazapam, which is commonly known as Valium, can be legally bought.
Judge Moran noted that Diazepam was “not as insidious” as other drugs and he said it was a mitigating factor that Purcell was a storeman and not the owner.
However, he said both offences were serious and that he had no choice but to impose a lengthy custodial sentence.
He imposed a five year prison sentence, suspending the final year.