A young Dublin father with an “outstanding” work ethic has received a seven year sentence with two suspended for possessing over €114,000 of cocaine at his former home.
Sean Fitzgerald (aged 25) admitted he had been holding €105,000 of the drug in a safe in his attic for dealers and the remaining amount in a bedroom wardrobe for his own sale and supply.
Fitzgerald, with an address at Pinebrook Vale, Clonsilla, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possessing 1.6kg of cocaine worth €114,333 at Castle Curragh Heath, Mulhuddart on September 25, 2009.
He has 10 previous convictions for minor road traffic offences.
Garda Ken Lyons told Ms Caroline Cummings BL, prosecuting, that colleagues went to the Mulhuddart address with a search warrant on foot of confidential information, gained entry through a kitchen window when there was no answer at the door and found the drugs cache in Fitzgerald’s bedroom and attic.
He said colleagues found plastic wrapping, two spoons with traces of white powder, a drugs “tick-list”, an electronic weighing scales and 167g of cocaine in two larger bags in the bedroom wardrobe.
Gardai subsequently found three cocaine packages weighing 500g each when they opened the safe at Blanchardstown Garda Station.
Gda Lyons said colleagues left a note in the house to say they had been in for a raid.
He said Fitzgerald later attended the garda station by appointment and explained he had been at a wedding the day his home was searched.
Fitzgerald said he had been “made hold” the drugs found in the safe for dealers two weeks previously and was expecting them to call back for the safe and its contents.
He claimed he owed a €8,000 debt for his own cocaine problem and had been selling the drug in €80 to €100 bags to pay it back.
He said he had agreed to hold the larger amount of cocaine found in the safe to offset part of his debt.
The garda agreed with Mr Sean Guerin BL, defending, that Fitzgerald had come from a respectable family and had been working full-time as a courier at the time of the offence.
Businessman, Mr Ronan Brady, told Mr Guerin that Fitzgerald had been an “outstanding” employee when he had worked for him and that he could not give the father-of-two a higher recommendation.
Mr Brady said he was shocked when Fitzgerald told him in confidence about the drugs charges, adding that he had hidden his cocaine habit well.
He said Fitzgerald had joined a cocaine support group and recently run a half marathon with other members.
Mr Guerin submitted to Judge Katherine Delahunt that his client had made efforts to get himself clean from drugs, that he had an active role in bringing up his two children and that he also cared for his sick father.
Judge Delahunt noted that Fitzgerald co-operated fully with the investigation and had entered an early guilty plea but said he had been “willing to engage in a commercial relationship” with dealers causing “an effective barrier” between these people and gardaí.
She suspended two years of Fitzgerald’s sentence for a period of seven years.