Young man mistakenly left €40k stash of cocaine in Cork Spar shop

Young man mistakenly left €40k stash of cocaine in Cork Spar shop

A young Dubliner carrying a €40,000 stash of cocaine to Cork accidentally left it behind him in a Spar shop and jumped to the mistaken conclusion that he had left it behind on the train.

Darren Barnwell, 22, with an address at Blackhall Parade, Dublin was not on the radar of gardaí but he brought himself to their attention when he created such a rumpus at the railway station insisting that he be allowed back on to the train to look for his bag.

It was only by his own actions that officers found he was carrying the big consignment of drugs.

Detective Sergeant Kieran O’Sullivan said the case related to a bag containing €40,000 worth of cocaine.

The matter first came to the attention of gardaí at lunchtime on August 16, 2018, when staff at Kent railway station reported that a man was in a heated argument with security staff in relation to a lost bag.

Darren Barnwell was arguing with staff insisting that he would be allowed on to the train to look for a bag that he thought he had left on the train.

Gardaí encountered the accused 15 minutes later at the Spar shop on MacCurtain Street.

They questioned him about a bag and he admitted there was a large quantity of cocaine in the bag which was recovered in the shop.

“He made full admissions that he had come to Cork from Dublin to collect the drugs,” Det Sgt O’Sullivan said.

It later transpired that the 22-year-old Dubliner had actually taken the bag with him from the train and then left it behind him when he went to the Spar shop.

Detective Sgt O’Sullivan said that in the accused had not been under garda observation prior to his arrest and that it was his own actions with security staff that brought him to their attention.

“There was no investigation. If he did not bring himself to our attention that day he was not a person of interest to us,” the detective sergeant said.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said, “He arrived in Cork in a state of some dishevelment. In that state, he brought himself to the notice and attention of gardaí.

“They discovered a cache of drugs he was carrying for someone else.” 

The judge said that in the unusual circumstance of the case – which could have carried a mandatory ten-year minimum sentence – he was justified in imposing a fully suspended sentence.

“This is an exceptional case. He appears to be doing much better now and he has cooperated with the probation service,” the judge said.

The accused pleaded guilty to having more than €13,000 worth of cocaine for sale or supply.

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