A cocaine courier was caught with a tub containing €8,500 worth of the drug in his car as he sped past a garda speed camera in Mitchelstown at 150 kilometres per hour.
Keith Horan of Ballycullen Cottages, Firhouse, Dublin, has pleaded guilty to a charge of having the cocaine for sale or supply.
Garda Henry Ward had parked a garda patrol car on the side of the road at Gort Na Hown, Mitchelstown, County Cork, at 7.30pm on May 9, 2019 when the car sped past at 150kph in a 120kph zone.
Garda Ward followed the car and signalled for him to stop which he did. When speaking to him, the garda noticed that the driver was nervous and he told him he was going to carry out a drugs search.
At this point the defendant admitted that there was a clear plastic container with cocaine in the footwell of the car.
The accused gave his correct date of birth but a made-up name and address. Later he admitted he was Keith Horan and gave his correct address.
Donal O’Sullivan defence barrister said: “There was no great sophistication to it. He drove clean past a garda car with a speed camera, doing 150kph.
“There was no question of tick lists or anything like that. He was an addict at the time. He panicked and gave a false name.”
Judge O’Callaghan said: “You were a cog in the wheel. It is a wheel of destruction and death - one of the biggest challenges to this state.
In the exceptional circumstances of the case, the judge said he would impose a three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence because the defendant appeared to have extricated himself from the influences of those for whom he was acting as a courier on the date in 2019. Garda Ward said it was his view that the 32-year-old had made great efforts in that regard.
The defendant was required to pay €1,500 to St Dominic’s community project in Tallaght, the people supporting him to turn his life around.