A Cork drug dealer who was caught getting off the Dublin train with more than €100,000 worth of heroin had texts on his phone showing he was recruiting others to deal drugs in Cork city.
Judge Helen Boyle said this recruitment of others by Gary Cambridge, 35, was an aggravating factor in the case and she sentenced him at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to seven years with the last year suspended.
“You were recruiting other people to – I won’t call it a line of work – that can only bring misery to others,” Judge Boyle said.
Detective Garda Paul Leahy, who caught Cambridge with the very large stash of heroin together with almost €2,000 worth of cocaine, gave evidence of drug-related text messaging on Cambridge’s phone.
“One message to a young lady was encouraging her to sell drugs and feed her own habit and he said he would give her a good price,” Det Garda Leahy said.
As well as this active encouragement of the young woman, there was also a warning to her by way of text. The detective said the message was to the effect that, “If payment was not forthcoming the Dubs would be down.”
Det Garda Leahy had charged Gary Cambridge of 6 Mount Brosna, Mayfield, Cork, with a number of counts related to the drugs seizure at the railway station.
The most serious charge to which Cambridge pleaded guilty was one of having heroin and cocaine with a combined street value exceeding €13,000 – the threshold figure that allows for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Det Garda Leahy received confidential information about Cambridge trafficking large quantities of heroin from Dublin to Cork on a regular basis. “We believe his dealing was from a high level all the way down to street level,” he said.
Det Garda Leahy monitored passengers disembarking at Kent Station in Cork from the Dublin train on September 4, 2019.
“I saw Gary Cambridge with a backpack on his back and a mobile phone in his hand. I identified myself as a member of An Garda Síochána,” the detective said.
Cambridge admitted there and then that he had ‘gear’ in the bag. Five packets in the backpack, each one tied at the top, contained heroin. There was a sixth bag of heroin tied in the same way in his pocket, along with the smaller bag of cocaine.
At interview, he said he was under duress to repay a drugs debt of €6,000 to €8,000 and later said the debt amounted to €10,000.
He admitted that he had travelled to Dublin for heroin on two other dates before September 2019.
“When his phone was examined it showed his activity from a high level to street level. There was a tick-list of nicknames and aliases.
"We believed that he could have transported four to five kilos of heroin to Cork from May 2019 to when he was arrested (in September 2019). He tried to play down his involvement,” Det Garda Leahy said.
Siobhán Lankford, defence senior counsel, said Cambridge pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, he was on a methadone treatment programme in prison and he had undergone a drug treatment programme lasting 18 months in Coolmine but relapsed afterwards.
Ms Lankford said that a key part of his cooperating was telling gardaí the PIN number of his phone so they could examine the contents.