A taxi driver who was caught with cannabis resin valued at €114,000 has been given a seven-year suspended sentence by Judge Katherine Delahunt at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Alan McEvoy (aged 40), of Ravenswood Avenue, Clonsilla pleaded guilty to having the drugs for sale or supply on June 8, 2006 at both his home and outside the home of an acquaintance in Clondalkin.
Judge Delahunt said she was taking into account his lack of previous convictions, his genuine remorse and the way he has turned his life around when imposing the suspended term.
Detective Garda Daire Daly told prosecuting counsel, Mr Fergal Foley BL, at the sentence hearing in April 2008, that gardai set up a surveillance operation after receiving confidential information that a drug transaction was about to take place at the house in Clondalkin.
They soon observed McEvoy pull up at the house, get out of his car, take a package from the boot and hand it to another man. Both were arrested and interviewed but the other man was never charged.
McEvoy immediately took responsibility and told gardaí he was “a minder and courier of drugs for another person”.
A further amount of cannabis resin was found in the en-suite bathroom at his home, along with €2,040 in cash which McEvoy said he had earned from “a drop” the previous night.
Det Gda Daly said McEvoy had never come to garda attention before or since this offence.
He said he “would not imagine” that McEvoy made any profit from the operation. He believed McEvoy had a cocaine problem at the time and expected that any money he made would have funded that habit.
Det Gda Daly agreed with defence counsel, Mr Conor Devalley SC (with Ms Elva Duffy BL) that McEvoy immediately “blurted out that he was a runner” when arrested and told gardaí that more cannabis would be found at his home.
McEvoy told gardaí during interview he would get €500 or €600 each time he dropped off drugs and Det Gda McEvoy accepted a suggestion from Mr Devally that “whoever he was manipulated by had him over a barrel” and that he was in genuine fear for his safety.
Det Gda Daly explained to Judge Delahunt that McEvoy might not have been able to get out of the operation “so easily” because of his own cocaine addiction.
He agreed with Mr Devally that McEvoy had shown remorse for his “greed and stupidity” and said he did not think he was at a risk of re-offending.
Mr Devally said McEvoy had been attending Coolmine Drug Treatment Centre and had been giving clear urine samples for a considerable period. Younger people there had benefited from McEvoy’s help when they faced their own difficulties after completing the programme.
Mr Devally said there was no doubt that his client had been important to the operation but he had managed to keep it from his then-wife and three children and had used the money to fund his cocaine addiction.
His marriage had since broken down and he had formed a new relationship with a partner who was expecting their first child. His sister’s death in 1993 had greatly affected him and he suffered from depression for a number of years.
Mr Devally said McEvoy had done “everything to rid himself of the things that had led him to this position”.
“He has been useful for dangerous people and had been sucked in by drugs but yet he has been responsible for this himself,” Mr Devally said.