By Brion Hoban
A man who stored just under €100,000 of heroin in order to pay off a debt has been jailed for three years.
Darren Nolan (50) took out a loan in order to start his own business, but a lot of the money instead went to feed his drug habit and he developed a debt.
Nolan of Oriel Street, Dublin City centre, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of heroin for sale or supply at his address on June 23, 2017. He has previous convictions for theft.
Sergeant Ciaran Whelan told Dara Hayes BL, prosecuting, that on foot of confidential information and a surveillance operation, gardaí obtained a search warrant for the accused man’s home which they executed on the date in question.
Sgt Whelan said that during the search, gardaí found heroin inside a sock, which was itself inside a shopping bag in a wheelie bin.
They also discovered weighing scales, bagging material, a tick-list and approximately €1,000 in cash in an envelope along with smaller amounts of cash.
Gardaí also discovered heroin Nolan took responsibility for at another address, which he had stored there as he was being given so much he could not store it all in one place.
The total value of all the heroin seized was €99,246. A total of €3,072 in cash was also seized by gardaí during the searches.
Sgt Whelan told the court that Nolan had worked as a carpenter and had borrowed money to set up his own business, but that a lot of that money went to feed his drug habit.
He said Nolan developed a large debt and subsequently “went into this line of work” to pay off the debt.
The sergeant agreed with Seamus Clarke SC, defending, that his client had previously been addicted to drugs in the early 1990’s and got clean of them, only to relapse in 2015 following the breakdown of his marriage and his father’s death.
Sgt Whelan agreed with counsel that people were “using” his client and that larger amounts of drugs were being given to him on each subsequent occasion.
Mr Clarke submitted that getting arrested seems to have been the best thing to happen to his client.
He said his client has remained clean of drugs during the pandemic and is living in a rehabilitation centre.
Counsel said his client “fell into being used” because he was so “desperately” in need of drugs for himself.
He asked the court to allow his client to complete a course that ends in August if it was minded to impose a custodial sentence.
Judge Martin Nolan said he accepts Nolan was under pressure, but said the pressure was of his own making because he took drugs.
Judge Nolan said he considered allowing the accused man to complete the course, but that the crime was “too serious”. He said he was doing the best he can for him and is aware of the mitigation and his many good points.
He sentenced Nolan to three years imprisonment.