A former stripper who held onto €2.2m worth of heroin for someone else has been given a four-year sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Gwen Mills (aged 34) of Kilcronan, Clondalkin kept the drugs in her house in return for a small amount of heroin for her personal use.
James McDonnell (aged 49) of Lindisfarne Vale, Clondalkin was seen by gardaí collecting the drugs and hiding them in his car. He will be sentenced at a later date.
They pleaded guilty to possession of the drugs for sale or supply on October 14, 2006 in Clondalkin.
Detective Garda William Sanderson told prosecuting counsel, Remy Farrell BL, that he set up a surveillance operation on McDonnell after receiving a confidential tip-off.
They saw him leave his home and pick up another man in a car park before driving to Mills’ house. He went into the house and Mills gave him a large bag from under the stairs. McDonnell got into the rear seat of the car and removed an interior panel while the other man pretended to work on the engine.
The men left and drove to McDonnell’s house. Shortly after he came out with a family member and the two drove around Clondalkin for a while before gardaí decided to pull them over.
He was brought to the garda station where the car was searched. The family member was released as gardaí believed he was not involved.
A search of the car revealed a number of packages of heroin wrapped in brown tape and weighing 12 kilograms. Gardaí then searched Mills' house and discovered €8,000 worth of amphetamine. When they searched McDonnell’s house they found €35,000 in cash.
McDonnell claimed he did not know how the drugs got in his car. He said he was in the used car business and the drugs were in the vehicle before he bought it.
He later admitted he was given €1,000 to transport the drugs. Mills said she was given a small amount of heroin to store the drugs and was relieved when they were taken out of her house.
Richard Lyons SC, defending Mills, said she was a heroin addict with a young daughter. She had worked as a "stripogram" but was now unemployed. She has several previous convictions, mostly for road traffic offences.
Judge Katherine Delahunt said she had to note the large quantity of drugs but accepted Mills was on "the very lowest rung of the ladder."
She sentenced her to four years in prison, but suspended the last two years for a period of four years on condition that she liaise with the probation service for 12 months.
McDonnell’s sentence will be finalised next October.