A young father-of-three who was caught stashing almost €115,000 worth of heroin in a Henry Hoover in a garden shed has been jailed for four years.
Alan Cox (31) from Ashwood Park, Clondalkin, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cannabis and diamorphine at his home on July 22, 2019.
Garda Ciaran O’Neill told Antonia Boyle BL, prosecuting, at a previous hearing last year, that he went to the accused man's house after securing a search warrant and his partner answered the door.
When asked if there were any drugs on the premises, she said her partner may have some weed.
She told gardaí that her children were asleep upstairs and telephoned the accused, who confirmed that there was a small bit of weed in his wardrobe.
A quantity of cannabis was found along with drug paraphernalia.
Following a search of a shed at the rear of the property, a quantity of heroin was found in a Henry vacuum cleaner.
Gardaí also found plastic bags, a pink grinder, €900 in cash, a tick list, plastic cut-offs, weighing scales and latex gloves.
When Cox returned home, he was arrested and cautioned. In an interview with gardaí, he refused to comment, saying that he owned the cannabis and nothing else.
Forensic Science Ireland confirmed that there was 69.984g of cannabis and 817.17g of diamorphine.
The diamorphine was valued at €114,478 and the cannabis was found to be worth €1,400 with a combined value of €115,878. Cox’s DNA was found on the gloves.
Cox has three previous convictions including two for misuse of drugs and another for threatening or abusive behaviour.
Garda O’Neill told Fiona Murphy, BL defending, that Cox had returned home when gardaí had requested him to.
He has a history of employment having worked for more than six years with a medical supply company while also volunteering throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
While Cox had told gardaí that he was holding the drugs to cancel a drug debt, Garda O’Neill said he believed that accused man's involvement was more than just “holding onto them”.
The court heard that Cox is battling with a benzodiazepine and cannabis addiction and that he was in fear for his safety and that of his family when he had been asked to store the drugs.
Judge Pauline Codd previously asked if it was fair to say that Cox was in fear and Garda O’Neill said it was difficult to say, as the accused knew the people involved “pretty well”.
She adjourned sentencing after hearing evidence and ordered a probation report.
On Monday Judge Codd noted that Cox has addressed his drug issues and the probation report put him at a moderate risk of re-offending.
She said that the evidence suggests that Cox was “actively dealing” and “a cog in the chain of distribution”.
“He chose to get involved in this murky business,” Judge Codd said before accepting that Cox did have an addiction himself at the time.
She sentenced him to six years in prison with the final two years suspended on strict conditions including that he engages with the Probation Service for two years upon his release.