A 38-year-old grandfather who was caught mixing and packaging cocaine valued over €2m in a rented council house in Lucan has been given a ten-year sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Vincent Concannon of Fairlawn Park, Finglas had not previous convictions but became involved as a result of developing a cocaine and cannabis addiction and running up a "drug debt".
Concannon was arrested after leaving the house and giving a back pack containing cocaine valued €350,000 to a man in a car. A further stash of cocaine valued €1.6m was then found in the house.
Sandie Casserly (aged 35), a mother of two, was given a two-year sentence in March 2006 with the final year suspended for allowing her South Dublin County Council house at Buirg an Rí Terrace on Balgaddy Road to be used for processing cocaine.
Detective Garda Donal Tully said the crime was detected after surveillance on her home in a garda operation targetting one of the main drug dealers in the country.
Concannon, a separated father of three with no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to possession of the cocaine for sale or supply at Casserly’s then home on May 13, 2004.
Judge Frank O’Donnell said it was his view that Concannon was "an essential operative in the drugs trade" and imposed the presumptive mandatory minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment.
Det. Gda Tully told prosecuting counsel, Mr Patrick McGrath BL, that gardaí swooped and recovered the back pack containing five kilograms of cocaine after they observed Concannon passing it to the driver of a car who was also arrested but has since absconded.
Gardaí then uncovered 4.5kg of cocaine in a bed room and 6.5kg of uncut cocaine in the attic. Scales, a compressor, a mixing agent and other articles used in processing cocaine for sale were also recovered.
Det. Gda Tully said Concannon’s fingerprints were found around the house and leading up to the attic.
Det. Gda Tully agreed with defence counsel, Mr Padraig Dwyer SC (with Mr Séamus Clarke BL), that Concannon "was not the brains of the outfit". He also agreed that although "the operation was highly profitable for someone" Concannon was "not a man of great means."
Mr Dwyer said it was "unusual" for a man of his age who had never even been arrested before to appear on such a serious charge but submitted that Concannon became involved because he developed a cocaine and cannabis addiction and run up a "drug debt."
He said Concannon, who recently became a grandfather, had previously worked as a labourer and came from a "good background".
He asked the court to also take into account that Concannon was not profiting from the operation and that he was "a vulnerable person" open to exploitation due to his limited education and debt.
Detective Garda Enda Mulryan said the garda operation was set-up by Detective Superintendent Dominic Hayes to target "one of the main drug dealers" in the country and it led to surveillance on the house which Casserly had rented from South Dublin County Council two months previously.
Casserly told gardai she hadn’t been there for some days prior to the raid and when "a certain name" was mentioned she referred to a former boyfriend but couldn’t explain how Concannon had keys for the premises. He believed she was not aware of the extent of the drugs operation and had no previous convictions.