Man jailed for eight years after Gardaí found over €2.2 million worth drugs in garageGary Ibbotson 24 Mar 2023
By Eimear Dodd and Jessica Magee
A man has been handed a prison sentence of over eight years after gardaí found over €2.2 million worth of drugs in a garage.
Gavin Minto (29) of Whitestown Drive, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15 pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of three controlled drugs for sale or supply at Kingswood Cross, Clondalkin on July 16, 2020.
Imposing a jail term of eight-and-a-half years yesterday, Judge Martin Nolan said Minto’s guilty plea and cooperation with gardaí allowed him to depart from the mandatory minimum sentence of ten years for this offense.
Judge Nolan said the garage searched by gardaí appeared to be a drugs distribution centre and that Minto had been involved in this enterprise.
He noted that a large amount of drugs was found by gardaí.
Garda Owen McDonagh told David Perry BL, prosecuting, that gardaí obtained a warrant to search a residential property on the day in question.
During the search, they found 151 MDMA tablets, 33 kilos of cannabis and a third controlled drug. In total, the drugs found had a combined value of €2.21 million.
Gardaí also found other items including a tablet press. The homeowner told gardaí that the garage was rented to another individual, who is before the courts.
CCTV footage showed Minto arriving at the garage at 2:36 pm. Minto spent 56 minutes in the garage and was seen entering and leaving the premises on several occasions.
While Minto was inside, a white Renault van was seen reversing into the garage. Minto left the garage at 4pm.
Minto has nine previous convictions, including three for possession of drugs.
Gda McDonagh agreed with Michael O’Higgins SC, defending, that his client was on the lowest rung of the ladder and had a significant drugs habit at that time.
The garda also accepted that the person who owned the drugs was a relative of Minto’s and is now deceased.
Gda McDonagh agreed with Mr O’Higgins that the defendant had been homeless at the time of this incident.
Mr O’Higgins said this was a “significant operation” and noted the large quantity of drugs found by gardaí.
He said his client had been homeless at the time and “extremely vulnerable”. He said his client was caught on CCTV and would be the “first port of call if any suspicions arose”.
A psychological report and other documents were handed to the court on behalf of Minto. Mr O’Higgins expressed his client’s shame and remorse to the court.
He said his client’s father was an alcoholic and had been violent towards Minto and his mother. Defence counsel said a neighbour helped Minto to obtain casual work on building sites.
Minto has a history of drug addiction including cannabis and prescription medication.
He said his client “rendered himself homeless” as he could see the impact of his drugs use on his mother. Minto has “turned himself around” since his mother had been diagnosed with cancer and was now drug-free, except for the use of a small amount of cannabis, Mr O’Higgins said.
Defence counsel said his client had been assessed as at low risk of re-offending if he remains sober.
Mr O’Higgins said his client had pleaded guilty and his moral culpability for the offence was low. He asked the court for as much “grace” as possible towards his client.
Judge Nolan noted that gardaí placed Minto at the lower end of the ladder.
He said Minto had some previous convictions, but they were not “too relevant” to this offence.
Judge Nolan said Minto had a difficult start in life, but had made the best of it. He said he took into consideration Minto’s guilty plea, his co-operation and admissions as mitigation.