A delivery man who became involved in cannabis trafficking operations “to put food on the table” has received a 15-year jail sentence.
Aaron Dunne (39) was arrested while moving and storing over three million euro worth of cannabis within a year of having been caught transporting €85,764 of the drug.
He told gardai he became involved in transporting the larger amount of drugs to repay the “debt” he owed for the loss of the first cache of drugs seized by gardai. He was on bail for the first offence at this time.
Dunne, with addresses at Mount Eustace Crescent, Tyrellstown and formerly of Drogheda, Co Louth pleaded guilty to possession of the drugs for sale or supply on May 27, 2011 at North Road, Finglas and on March 30, 2012 at Killeen Court in Ballyfermot.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court imposed a ten year sentence for the second offence and ordered that it run consecutive to a prison term of five years imposed for the 2011 offence.
Taking into account Dunne’s previous good work history and lack of serious previous convictions she suspended the final three years and backdated the sentence to December last.
During a planned surveillance operation on a co-accused, gardaí observed Dunne go to the rear of the refrigerated van he was driving and take out a bag which he attempted to disguise with a tray of food. Gardaí intervened, as the other man came to collect it.
The bag held 100 slabs of cannabis resin valued at €62,850 and a further search of the van revealed a black bag refuse sack holding €22,908 of cannabis herb.
Dunne told gardaí he had leased the van and was making legitimate deliveries. He said he had bank loans to pay and had got involved in the drugs delivery “so I could put food on the table.” He said he had been told it was easy money and he would be paid €500.
The court heard that in March 3, 2012 Customs and Excise officers became suspicious about a consignment of meat delivered to Dublin Port was discovered €3,440,000 worth of cannabis resin and cannabis herb in the load.
Gardai monitored the movement of the consignment, which was picked up on March 30 and ultimately driven to Ballyfermot. Gardai saw Dunne driving two vans into a lock up there and arrested him.
Dunne said he was out of work and had credit card, loans and a wedding to pay off. He said it was his job to store the drugs and that he had not paid for the lockup.
Fiona Ferguson and Declan Brennan
Friday 6th June