A Ballincollig man jailed earlier this year for a carefully planned drug-dealing operation returned to court yesterday declaring that he wanted his money back.
Ronan Carroll, aged 31, of 23 Holly Road, Muskerry, Ballincollig, Co Cork, was sentenced to three years with the last two suspended at Cork Circuit Criminal Court in February.
Carroll said wages of €300 from his work as a plasterer and his iPhone and plastering equipment were seized when the illegal drugs were seized. He said the €300 had nothing to do with the drugs and was not the proceeds of dealing.
The matter came before the court as a police property application made by Carroll through his solicitor, Frank Buttimer.
Carroll said he was not given any receipt from the gardaí for seized property.
Det Garda Fergal Ashcroft said the full amount of drugs seized on the day — August 8, 2013 — amounted to more than €4,000. He said that the accused was caught when a transaction was intercepted.
Det Garda Ashcroft confirmed that the defendant had €300 in his wallet and that this was seized. Also seized was the phone, which would be done routinely in a drugs case to see if there was anything of an evidential value on it.
While Carroll was only aware of €300 in cash, Det Garda Ashcroft said the car was searched with the aid of a sniffer dog and that a further €600 in cash was also located.
The detective said he knew nothing about the plastering equipment and said the only things he had retrieved and kept in Garda custody were the phone and €900.
Judge Olann Kelleher said he would make an order for the return of the phone and the €300 to the accused, who is in prison serving his sentence. The other €600 was forfeited to the State.
Mr Buttimer asked the detective if he would check to see if the plastering equipment had been put aside anywhere in the course of the search of the car. The detective agreed to look into that.
In Cork Circuit Criminal Court in February it emerged that Carroll had rehabilitated since he was caught in 2013 but that he also had a drug-dealing conviction dating back to when he was 18, for which he was given a community service order.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said: “This young man has a lot going for him but he got involved in the scourge of drug-dealing. He was carefully organised. It was only through surveillance that he was caught. He was a drug addict. He has cleaned himself of drug addiction. He was substantially doing this for money.”
He pleaded guilty to having it for sale or supply at Maglin Drive, Ballincollig, on August 8, 2013.
He also admitted having cocaine for his own use. Det Sgt Lar O’Brien said Carroll was under surveillance by the drugs squad on that date.
Carroll was seen going to a field and retrieving something and then meeting with someone to conduct a transaction. Gardaí moved in and Carroll fled, dropping a packet as he ran.
This packet was retrieved and found to contain cannabis worth €2,400.
A second packet on his person had €1,755 worth of the drug.
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