Two men and a woman “caught red-handed” with more than €1.3m worth of heroin and cannabis in a targeted garda operation have been jailed for between three and seven years.
Daniel Eivers (aged 34), Michael Doyle (aged 42) and Sarah Coll (aged 27) all pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of drugs for sale or supply at several locations in Dublin on September 25 and 26, 2012.
Judge Carmel Stewart accepted that all three were at the lower end of the drugs operation and were “cogs in a much bigger machine”.
However she said the amount of drugs involved made it a very serious offence and that the three were not “impressionable teenagers” but mature adults who had made wrong decisions and brought shame on their extended families.
Judge Stewart sentenced Eivers, of Glenshane Gardens in Tallaght, to nine years in prison with the final two years suspended.
Doyle, with an address at Valeview Gardens, Finglas, was sentenced to eight years in prison with the final two years suspended.
Coll, also of Valeview Gardens in Finglas, received a sentence of six years with the final three years suspended.
All three were instructed to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for the suspended portions of their sentences.
Judge Stewart said the three had been “caught red-handed” with the drugs and had failed to name others involved in the operation.
She accepted that Eivers had been under threat because of a drug debt.
The judge said the court had to be mindful of the need to deter others from carrying out similar crimes.
Detective Garda Brian Foran told Colm O'Briain BL, prosecuting, that gardaí involved in a surveillance operation at the Deadman's Pub saw Doyle driving a black Lexis into the car park.
He said Doyle and Coll got out of the car and went into the pub, followed shortly afterwards by Eivers who had arrived in a Ford Focus.
When the two men came out of the pub, Eivers took a sports bag from the Lexis and put it into the Ford Focus.
Gardaí moved in, arrested all three and seized the sports bag which was found to contain blocks of heroin wrapped up in black tape.
These drugs had an estimated street value of €683,353.
In a follow up search of Doyle's home, gardaí found two weighing scales, €600 in cash, heroin with an estimated value of €22,800 heroin and cannabis valued at €360. They also found heroin valued at €595,500 in a Lidl freezer bag in the attic of Eiver's home.
They found 26 slabs of cannabis resin and €800 cash in Coll's bedroom in her Finglas home. She told gardaí that Doyle had asked her to store the cannabis slabs which were valued at €28,260.
Doyle told gardaí that he had built up a debt from a long cocaine habit and he was afraid of the man he owed money to. The father-of-three has three previous convictions for minor road traffic offences.
Sean Gillane SC, defending Doyle, said his client came from a respectable, hard working family.
He worked as a taxi driver but slid into abusing cocaine, eventually losing his family and mental and physical health to drug abuse. He sold his taxi to pay a drug debt.
Tony Brennan from the Coolmine Therapeutic Community said Doyle has since thrown himself “100%” into recovery and has made remarkable lifestyle changes. He said Doyle is now a role model and mentor for others with addiction problems.
Detective Garda Daniel Lambe told Aileen Donnelly SC, defending Eivers, said there was no link between him and the other two accused.
Eivers told gardaí that he was bullied into holding drugs because he was seen as a “soft touch”.
Gda Lambe said Eivers, a father-of-three, had good reason to believe that his life was in danger, and that there had been threats made to him.
He said Eivers had been a self-employed plasterer who came into difficulties in the downturn and got caught up in a cocaine and cannabis habit, but that since his arrest he has dealt with his addictions head on.
Eivers has 21 previous convictions, for road traffic and public order offences.
Detective Foran told Mary Rose Gearty SC, defending Coll, that her client had made “extraordinary progress” at the Coolmine Centre adding that she had “turned her life around” and was now volunteering to help others with addictions.
Coll has no previous convictions.