A teenager who became involved in a multi million-euro heroin operation after deciding to “go for a spin” in his cousin’s car has received a six-year sentence, with three years suspended, at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today.
Solomon Spencer (aged 19) of Lansdowne Gate, Dublin 12 had pleaded guilty to to possession of heroin for sale or supply of heroin valued at €1.3m at Boomer’s carpark, Woodford Walk, Clondalkin on January 23, 2009.
A further cache of heroin valued at €1.9m was found in a second car occupied by two co-accused.
His co-accused John Paul Cawley (aged 30) of Lugdoon, Doocastle, Ballymoate, Sligo; Andrew Meeson (aged 40) of The Hawthorns, Carraroe, Sligo; Greg O’Brien (aged 20) of Dolphins Road, Drimnagh also pleaded guilty to possession of heroin for sale or supply on the same occasion. They were jailed for 10 years each last May.
Judge Katherine Delahunt said that the court acknowledged Spencer became involved in the offence because he accepted an invitation from his cousin Greg O’Brien to join him on the delivery run in his car.
However, she said that Spencer had an awareness of what was happening and was aware that the transaction was drug related.
Judge Delahunt said the court took in to account Spencer’s age, his turbulent childhood, his early plea and admissions as to his role.
She said that she was satisfied that Spencer’s involvement was at the lowest level and said that the court was impressed with Spencer’s desire to continue with his education.
Suspending the last three years of his six-year sentence, Judge Delahunt ordered that Spencer attend whatever vocational, educational and counseling programmes deemed necessary during his incarceration.
Detective Garda Paul Kane told Mr Sean Guerin BL, prosecuting, that a garda operation put in place on the on the evening of January 23, 2009 observed a Fiat Punto and a Nissan Almera car pull up at a car park in Ballyfermot.
The driver of the Fiat Punto, identified as Greg O’Brien, got out of his car and went to the Nissan Almera before returning to his own car.
Gardaí followed the two vehicles to Boomer’s car park, where a search of the Fiat Punto uncovered a sports holdall containing 14 half kilo bags of heroin valued at €1.3m on the floor of the front passenger side. Solomon Spencer was identified as being a back seat passenger.
Gardaí found a suitcase containing 20 half kilo bags of heroin valued at €1.9m in the Almera which Cawley was driving and Meeson was a passenger.
All four admitted they were shocked and “got a fright” when they found out the amount of drugs they had in their possession.
Greg O’Brien, who was unemployed at the time, said he got involved as he “owed a guy a few hundred quid,” while Spencer said he was asked by O’Brien, who is his cousin, “to come for a spin and give directions.”
All four did not gain financially from their roles in the crime.