By Sonya McLean
A taxi driver who told gardaí he was put under pressure to transport almost €300,000 worth of drugs has been jailed for five years.
Keith Banks (43) of Castleknock Glade, Laurel Lodge, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possessing the drugs for sale or supply and having the proceeds of criminal conduct, just over €19,000 in cash, on August 1, 2020.
He has no previous convictions.
Garda Thomas McDaniel told Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, that a warrant was secured to search a property in Clonsilla, Dublin. Gardaí found Banks standing at a kitchen counter and saw him throw a white powder on to the floor.
A search of the property revealed cannabis with a street value of €135,000 and cocaine with a street value of €158,000 in various locations.
Banks was arrested and made admissions.
He said he had brought the money to the house and he had collected the drugs. He said he had a drug debt and had been under pressure to get involved.
Gda McDaniel agreed with Kathleen Leader SC, defending, that Banks’ role was to transport the drugs and he had been put under a significant amount of pressure to get involved.
He further accepted that Banks said he was to get a small amount of cocaine for carrying out the deliveries.
Ms Leader said that her client had been taken advantage of by others and asked Judge Melanie Greally to accept that he had engaged with the garda investigation.
Judge Greally had adjourned the case for a week having heard the evidence, to allow her time to consider a psychological report before the court.
“Realistically speaking, he had a key role in relation to people who had been drug dealing. It is a case where a custodial sentence will be necessary,” she said.
Yesterday she imposed concurrent sentences totalling seven and half years for the two offences.
She suspended the final two and half years on strict conditions including that Banks be under the supervision of the Probation Service for 12 months upon his ultimate release from custody.