Father of three was part of €4m large-scale drug hub

By Sonya McLean

A father of three who was part of “a large-scale drug distribution hub” has been jailed for eight-and-a-half years after he admitted possession of over €4 million worth of cannabis and heroin.

Darren Cusack (47), of Saul Road, Crumlin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the drugs for sale or supply at Ballyfermot Drive, on July 17, 2017.

Criminal Courts of Justice 2 09032017

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court


He also admitted possession of three stun guns on the same date and the same place.

Detective Garda Brian Foran told Ronan Kennedy SC, prosecuting, that officers “were practically tripping over stuff” when they discovered 188 kgs of cannabis herb and 2.9 kgs of cocaine

He described it as “a large-scale drug distribution hub” telling the court that a money-counting machine, two plastic bag sealers, three stun guns and a weighing scales were also found in the garage.

It was accepted that while there was no evidence that Cusack owned the drugs, he was seen carrying flat-pack boxes from a truck into a garage where the drugs were stored.

The gardai believe the truck was originally involved in transporting the drugs to the garage.

Det Garda Foran confirmed that a co-accused Stephen Sarsfield (39), of New Street Gardens, Dublin 8, was sentenced to seven years in prison by Judge Martin Nolan in April 2018. His case was brought to the Court of Criminal Appeal on the basis of undue leniency and the sentence was increased to ten years.

A third man, Mark O’Dwyer (44), of Emmet Buildings, Watling Street, was sentenced to five years in prison by Judge Nolan in May 2018.

O’Dwyer’s case is also subject to a review from the Court of Criminal Appeal on the grounds of undue leniency.

Det Garda Foran confirmed that Cusack was interviewed seven times and exercised his right to silence in all but the final interview.

He said he had been offered “a bit of work for the day” and had no idea that drugs were involved.

Cusack told gardai it was soon “plain to see” that cannabis was involved, but he didn’t feel he could walk away.

“I should have walked away. I accept the role that I played and deeply regret my participation,” Cusack said before he told gardai he would plead guilty, although he later looked for a trial date to be set before changing his plea.

Det Gda Foran said Cusack told gardai he was an unemployed courier at the time and father to three children, two of whom were from a previous relationship.

On Wednesday, Judge Nolan said Cusack said “little or nothing” until the last interview with gardai when he made some admissions.

“It was undoubtedly a large amount of drugs, but the evidence is that he didn’t own these drugs, nor was he the chief organiser in the distribution of the drugs,” Judge Nolan said.

“He brought boxes in to be used for onwards transmission of these drugs,” the judge said.

The judge said that in sentencing Cusack he was also taking into account how the Court of Criminal Appeal dealt with Sarsfield. He said he was satisfied that the fact that Sarsfield had keys to the truck, Cusack was not on the same level as him.

Dominic McGinn SC, defending, told Judge Nolan that he does not accept the State’s proposition that his client level of involvement was “on a par” with Sarsfield.

He said Sarsfield had the keys to the truck that gardai believe the drugs originated from and he was still at the scene when officers moved into raid the garage, while Cusack was not.

Mr McGinn said his client is the father of a five-year-old autistic boy who is hugely dependent on him. Cusack arranges his working day around the child to allow him to pick him up from school and give him his lunch. He said a long prison sentence would really impact on his client’s son.

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