Father-of-one caught with €44k worth of drugs in rented property

By Sonya McLean and Brian Hoban

A Dublin father-of-one was caught with over €44,000 worth of drugs when his landlady reported that her home had been burgled.

Ryan Callaghan (25) of Lough Conn Avenue, Ballyfermot, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to having the drugs for sale or supply at a rented property on July 31, 2015.

Dublin Criminal Courts of Justice 2 October 2016

He has two previous convictions for minor road traffic offences.

Judge Karen O'Connor sentenced Callaghan to three years imprisonment with the final 12 months suspended providing he keep the peace and be of good behaviour upon his release.

Garda Owen Sheehan told James Dwyer SC, prosecuting, that gardai were alerted to the fact that the house in Palmerstown had been burgled and arrived to find that Callaghan's room was the only one that had been ransacked.

When officers found drug paraphernalia, they left to secure a warrant to search the bedroom.

On returning they discovered €24,103 worth of heroin, €14,746 worth of cannabis herb and €5,348 worth of cocaine.

Gardai also seized six mobile phones, a weighing scales, surgical gloves and plastic cut offs.

Gda Sheehan said they were informed that Callaghan rented the room and then they went to his girlfriend's home to bring him in for questioning.

Callaghan later made no admissions in interview.

The court heard that a number of text messages suggestive of drug dealing were found on one of the mobile phones.

Callaghan later got permission to return to the house in Palmerstown to get back some of his property, but when he was searched, having left the house, he had nothing with him.

Gda Sheehan agreed with Michael Bowman SC, defending, that when officers arrived at the house there was a strong smell of cannabis.

He accepted that it was “a strange scene” in Callaghan's bedroom, in that although it had been ransacked, the drugs and drug paraphernalia were laid out on top of an overturned mattress.

Gda Sheehan further accepted that Callaghan came from “a very decent background” and no member of his family had ever been in trouble.

He also accepted that Callaghan's father paid off €10,000 to some people who came to his home claiming that his son not only owed them a drug debt but also owed them for the drugs lost during the garda seizure.

Gda Sheehan agreed that Callaghan didn't have “a lavish lifestyle”.

Mr Bowman said his client's father put Callaghan out of the family home when he realised he was getting into drugs.

Counsel said the father now believes that this was big mistake because he had effectively put his son in the hands of these people.

Mr Bowman told Judge O'Connor that his client found himself in debt and agreed to hold this bag of drugs. He said there was nothing to forensically link him to the drugs or anything in the bag.

Judge O'Connor said the text messages on the phone suggested that Callaghan was doing more than holding a bag.

Counsel said that his client never touched the bag and the phones seized by gardai had been in that bag.

He said it was his instruction that Callaghan was “not responsible” for the text message.

“He had a drug difficulty that sucked him into this,” Mr Bowman said before he asked for an adjournment to allow his client to be further assessed by The Probation Service.

Judge O'Connor said the variety and value of the drugs were aggravating factors in the case.

She said the mitigating factors were his early plea, his history of addiction, his child and that he came from a “decent” family.

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