Prison for former taxi driver who was caught with €600k of drugs

By Fiona Ferguson

A FORMER taxi driver caught with €600,000 of drugs and stolen art when his apartment was searched after he was involved in a cash-in-transit robbery has been jailed for seven-and-a-half years.

Jonathan Rafferty (38) was later involved in a second cash-in-transit robbery, as well as a burglary, which ended in the getaway car ramming two vehicles in an attempt to escape.

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Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Rafferty was using cocaine every day at the time of the offences and was under “significant pressure” due to a €6,000 “drug debt.”

Rafferty, of Brookview Lawn, Tallaght, pleaded guilty to robbery of a security cash box containing €19,000 and possession of an imitation firearm at Cookstown Road, Tallaght on October 21, 2013.

He further pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis resin and cannabis herb and of stolen artwork at Hazel Grove Court, Tallaght, on October 26, 2013.

He also admitted robbery of a second security cash box containing €230 and possession of an imitation firearm at Cheeverstown Luas Stop, Tallaght on March 21, 2014.

Finally, Rafferty pleaded guilty to burglary at Sunrise Dry Cleaner, City West Business Park on February 10, 2015. He also admitted dangerous driving and criminal damage to a car on the same occasion.

Judge Patricia Ryan noted Rafferty had not become involved in criminal activity until his late twenties after developing a cocaine habit. She noted he had made efforts to rehabilitate himself and had not come to any further garda attention.

Judge Ryan imposed consecutive sentences totalling eleven years and suspended three and a half years of the total term.

Rafferty, who has 12 previous convictions, had written a letter of apology to the court.

At the first sentence hearing last April Colm O’Briain SC, defending, said his client’s involvement in the offences had arisen from drug use which led to a drug debt and onwards to criminal activity.

He said Rafferty had left school early and gone into full-time work restoring kitchens before becoming a taxi driver.

He developed a serious cocaine habit around 2004 which led to personal and financial difficulties and the loss of his taxi.

Mr O’Briain said Rafferty was drawn deeper and deeper into drug usage and began accruing convictions.

He had previously attempted to address his drug problem but relapsed and was under significant pressure at the time of the cash-in-transit robberies.

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