Two and half years for storing drugs in his home to pay off a debtPadraig Conlon 13 May 2022
By Claire Henry
A Dublin man who allowed his home to be used to store drugs to pay off his drug debt has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that confidential information received by gardai provided grounds for a search warrant to be issued for a house in the Finglas area.
The court heard that on 3 December 2019, a search of a property in Melville Way, Cityside, Finglas was carried out and a large amount of drugs, including cannabis, cocaine and ketamine, was seized with a value of over €95,000.
The home was owned by Robert Byrne (47), who was present at the time of the search. Byrne was cautioned, arrested and interviewed by gardaí.
The court heard that during his interview, Byrne stated he had a significant drug debt of €20,000 to €25,000 and that he allowed his home to be used to hold drugs.
He said that threats were made against him and his family and that he was put under pressure to hold the drugs.
Byrne, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to the possession of one or more controlled drugs for the purpose of sale or supply.
Gardaí accepted that Byrne was in fear for his life and was holding the drugs for this reason.
The court heard that Byrne did not live a lavish lifestyle and did not profit from the sale of drugs held in his house.
Judge Orla Crowe outlined that this was a very serious offence with multiple different drugs seized and of high value.
She noted that Byrne had pleaded guilty but that he had also been caught red-handed with the drugs.
Judge Crowe stated that he had played an active role for more than one year in the distribution of drugs.
Byrne was sentenced to three years in prison with the final six months suspended under the condition that he be of good behaviour and keep the peace for three years post-release.
The court heard that Byrne had a sense of relief when gardaí searched his house, and he has expressed regret and remorse for his actions.
A urine analysis report highlighted that Byrne was drug-free, and a Probation Services report said that he was at a low risk of reoffending.