A taxi driver who carried cocaine valued at over €250,000 in his cab for "a few hundred euro" to help pay off his loans has been jailed for nine years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Edmund Breslin (aged 42), a father of two, agreed to carry the drugs after running into financial difficulties and not disclosing the extent of his problems to his family.
Breslin, of Kevin Barry House, Church Street, pleaded guilty to possesion of the drugs for sale or supply at the junction of George’s Hill and North King Street on June 19, 2007.
Judge Katherine Delahunt said that Breslin was not a naive young addict who had been forced, due to his addiction, to get involved in this heinous trade.
"You willingly got involved for financial gain and by transporting the drugs you placed yourself between the drug barons and the gardai," Judge Delahunt said before she added that she was satisfied that Breslin had "a very significant involvement" in this crime.
Garda Paul Fahy told Mr Shane Costelloe BL, prosecuting, that gardaí stopped Breslin’s taxi on foot of confidential information that he was likely to be in possession of drugs. Cocaine with a street value of €278,530 was found in a shopping bag in the foot well of the car.
Gda Fahy agreed with defence counsel, Mr Padraig Dwyer SC, that Breslin, who has two previous minor convictions, made admissions at the scene but later "backtracked" when interviewed by gardai.
Mr Dwyer said Breslin had run up debts to financial institutions and his partner was unaware of the extent of the loans. He said Breslin, who has problems with alcohol abuse, had carried the drugs for a few hundred euro of foot of a phone call.
He said Breslin, who had carried out significant voluntary work in his community, had never experienced prison before and he submitted that "while offending against his community he has also contributed to his community and would be missed by many."
Mr Dwyer said Breslin had expressed remorse for the offence, entered an early guilty plea and was aware of the effect his offending had on his family.