'Major player in heroin trade' jailed for 20 years

A “major player in the heroin trade” has been jailed for twenty years for possession of over a million euro of the drug while his “lackey” has been given a six-year sentence.

Anthony O’Leary (aged 35) “manipulated” Bernard Kelly (aged 56), a friend of his partner, into holding drugs for him in return for €500.

Four months after he was arrested for the first offence, O’Leary was arrested with another €200,000 worth of the drug. He was on bail at the time.

O’Leary, of Wheatfield Court, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of heroin at his home on December 12, 2008 and at Westbourne Green on August 05, 2008, both in Clondalkin.

Kelly, of Oliver Bond House, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty to possession of the drugs at Westbourne Green.

Judge Katherine Delahunt said O’Leary was a well-known drug dealer who was “well up the ladder”. She sentenced him to ten years on each count to run consecutively but allowed him to come back to court after fifteen years to review the rest of the term.

She said Kelly’s involvement “bears no relation” to O’Leary’s and noted that he had been very helpful to gardaí and had no previous convictions. She sentenced him to six years with the last three suspended.

Garda Andrew Lyons told Mr Damien Colgan BL, prosecuting, that a search team went to O’Leary’s house after receiving a tip-off about drugs there. As they entered they stopped Kelly as he was leaving with a hold-all bag containing 4.5 kilogrammes (kg) of heroin.

Gardaí continued the search and found O’Leary in the kitchen bagging up half a kilogram of heroin. They found a total of 4.955 kgs of heroin worth €991,076.

They also found a box sealed with tape, containing €7,910 in notes and a further €2,370 on O’Leary himself.

A follow-up search of Kelly’s then home at Neilstown Drive, Clondalkin revealed several more cash bundles wrapped in the same tape.

A total of €40,275 was found in the two houses which Gda Lyons said he believed was the proceeds of drug dealing.

Kelly told gardaí that O’Leary has pressured him into holding onto the drugs and he was to be paid €500 in return. He said the cash bundles also belonged to O’Leary and he had held onto sums of money for him on several previous occasions.

O’Leary admitted forcing Kelly to take the drugs and money. He took full responsibility for the heroin but claimed he was holding the money for someone else.

Both men were released on bail and four months later gardaí got another tip-off about a heroin consignment.

They searched a house in Clondalkin and found O’Leary with a kilogram of heroin worth €207,000 and drug dealing equipment.

He told gardaí he had bought the heroin for €20,000 and was going to sell it for €36,000.

Gda Lyons said O’Leary had 46 previous convictions including several for drug dealing. He said Kelly had no previous convictions and was unknown to gardaí.

Gda Lyons agreed with Mr Michael Bowman BL, defending Kelly, that he was very honest in interview and had little idea of the amount of drugs he was dealing with. During the interview gardaí thanked him for his honesty and said he would be better off in the long run.

“I don’t know about that,” Kelly had replied.

Mr Bowman described him as a “vulnerable lackey” who was manipulated by others.

He said O’Leary’s partner held “quite a spell” over his client which O’Leary took advantage of.

Mr Paul Burns SC, defending O’Leary, said his client had been abusing drugs since a young age and had been in a debilitating car accident several years before.

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