An English man who drove a truck into Ireland carrying duvets stuffed with blocks of cocaine has been jailed for four years.
Imran Ramzan (aged 34) was one of five men arrested by members of the Garda National Drugs Unit when they stopped a €585,000 drugs deal taking place in September 2006.
He was the driver of a truck used to deliver nine blocks of cocaine to drug dealers waiting at Station Road, Lusk, Co Dublin on September 14, 2006.
Detective Garda Gregory Sheehan told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that he saw one of the men handing a plastic bag containing €85,000 in cash into the truck.
He said he saw Ramzan and the passenger of the truck tearing up a plastic bag which contained quilts that had brown packages taped to them. These packages were later found to contain 8.35kg of cocaine with an estimated street value of €585,000.
The five -day trial heard evidence that Ramzan had suffered head injuries during a road crash a year before his arrest and his defence counsel, Roderick O’Hanlon SC, had argued that he was not capable of knowing the consequences of his actions or of changing them.
Ramzan of Polygon Road, Manchester had previously told gardaí he knew drugs were in the lorry and said he had driven the truck from Manchester to Dublin in exchange for money to cover his expenses.
He had pleaded not guilty to three charges relating to possession of cocaine for sale or supply, two of which were dropped during the trial.
The more serious charge had to be dropped because of a successful legal argument regarding the way cocaine is valued by the Forensic Science Laboratory and gardaí.
Judge McCartan ruled that the Director of Public Prosecutions could not go ahead with this more serious charge under section 15a of the Misuse of Drugs Act because the State could not prove the value of the drugs was greater than €13,000.
The jury then convicted Ramzan of the lesser charge of possession of the drugs for sale or supply under section 15 of the Misuse of Drugs Act.
Today prosecuting counsel, Elva Duffy BL, made an application for a transcript of that ruling for “possible consideration” by the DPP.
The court heard that the main target of the garda operation, David Timmons (aged 28) Chapel Gate, Balbriggan, received an eight-year sentence after being found guilty of conspiracy to possess cocaine for sale or supply.
The other men arrested, Brian Thompson (aged 52) of Silverwell Road, Croxteth, Liverpool; John Gossan (aged 31) of Castlegrange Hill, Swords and Naveed Aslam (aged 33) of Newington Avenue, Manchester, received sentences of five, four and six years respectively.
Before sentence was passed, the court heard from Dr Patrick Pender, a neuro-psychologist from Beaumont Hospital who said that a 2005 car crash had left Ramzan with a “severe brain injury” which impacts on his ability to think, plan and react to complex events.
Dr Pender said that he believed Ramzan understood what was happening on the day of the drug deal but was unable to stop himself.
Judge McCartan accepted that it was unlikely Ramzan played a role in the planning of the drug deal as he was in hospital receiving treatment for his brain injuries up to the day before his arrest.
The judge said there had to be a prison sentence as Ramzan’s co-accused had received prison sentences and he imposed a term of four years.