Woman stored two handguns and €758,000 worth of drugs

By Brion Hoban

A vulnerable woman who stored two handguns and over €750,000 worth of drugs in her home has been jailed for five years.

Denise Bergin (50) stored two semi-automatic pistols in a dog food box under her kitchen sink in order to receive money as she wished to visit her sick mother in the UK.

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Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

 Bergin of Priorsgate Apartments, Main Road, Tallaght pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of drugs for sale or supply, possession of firearms and possession of ammunition at her address on July 18, 2019. She has no previous convictions.

 Detective Garda Peter Ronan told Garrett McCormack BL, prosecuting, that on the date in question and on foot of confidential information, gardai obtained a search warrant for Bergin’s address.

 Det Garda Ronan said gardai found two semi-automatic pistols and ammunition in separate see-through plastic bags contained within a see-through dog food box located under the kitchen sink.

 Gardai also discovered, in the hot press, 37 packages of cannabis. Inside the cooker hood in the kitchen, gardai found six small bags of cocaine and approximately 40,000 prescription tablets. The total value of all of the drugs found in the apartment was €758,000.

 In interview with gardai, Bergin said she had been asked to hold the items and was to be paid €400. She said she had a drug debt and wished to visit her sick mother in the UK.

 Det Gda Ronan agreed with Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, defending, that his client was a vulnerable person due to her longstanding psychiatric difficulties. He agreed she had been diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder.

 He agreed that someone who knew her vulnerabilities and how to exploit her took advantage of Bergin. He agreed that her mother died two weeks after Bergin was arrested.

 Mr Ó Lideadha said his client had done work in a community centre and in a local kickboxing club. He said the court did not often see situations where someone was both vulnerable and had made a positive contribution to the community.

 Judge Martin Nolan said it seemed Bergin needed money and was offered it by third parties. He said “it could be said these third parties exploited a vulnerable person”.  Judge Nolan said there was very good mitigation in the case and sentenced Bergin to five years imprisonment.

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