A Cork man whose first serious offence was delivering €176,000 worth of cannabis from Kildare to Cork has being jailed for three years.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Joseph Dunlea (34) has only one previous conviction for a road traffic offence and comes from a good family.
Dunlea of Lotamore Lawn, Mayfield, Cork pleaded guilty to possession of drugs for sale or supply at Celbridge, Co Kildare on June 21, 2011.
Judge Martin Nolan sentenced him to three years imprisonment after noting that he was a person of previous good character who had made a serious misjudgement.
Detective Garda Sean Smith told Vincent Heneghan BL, prosecuting, that a large scale surveillance operation was put into place after gardai received information about drug transactions involving other Dublin persons more “highly regarded” by gardai.
A number of locations was placed under surveillance and Dunlea was followed from Kilkenny to a shopping area in Celbridge. There a man got out of another car and put a suitcase containing the drugs into Dunlea’s car.
Det Smith said Dunlea was to be paid €500 for moving the drugs to Cork but was otherwise “out of the loop”. The man who placed the bag in his car has been prosecuted and is due for sentence.
Dunlea had borrowed his sister’s car to do the drugs run. The detective said there were more sinister elements involved in the operation and that Dunlea was “totally out of his depth”.
He agreed with Sean Gillane SC, defending, that Dunlea came from a good hard working family in Cork and he was prone to manipulation.