A man was caught intending to sell over €33,000 worth of ecstasy after he forgot the schoolbag containing the drugs in a shop.
Darren Callery (24) with an address at Dock Street, Galway pleaded guilty to a single count of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell or supply last December, and the case was adjourned for sentencing.
Garda John Brown outlined for Galway Circuit Court this week that on March 2 of 2018 he got a call about to a shop on Prospect Hill about a suspect schoolbag.
The shop manager had found the bag, and brought it back to his office where he discovered what he believed to be drugs, and then called gardaí.
CCTV footage from the shop showed Callery leave the schoolbag on a counter while he made himself a cup of tea. He then paid for his drink and left the shop, leaving the bag behind him.
In total the bag contained three plastic bags with smaller ‘deal bags’, 403 tablets and fragments of tablets, and 489 grams of a “brown sugar” like substance which he believed to be MDMA.
The total street value of the ecstasy tablets and powder after analysis came to €33,394.
Gardaí executed a search warrant at his home, finding no other drugs, and arrested Callery.
Garda Brown said that he cooperated fully with the investigation, making full admissions when interviewed.
He has no previous convictions, and has not come to any garda attention before or since this incident.
Mr Callery’s barrister said that this offence was an “aberration” and that outside of it he has been a “responsible decent citizen”, highlighting an extremely positive report by the Probation Services which said he was at a low risk of re-offending.
At the time he was dealing with mental health and addiction issues, and resorted to selling ecstasy to feed his own drug habit the defence said.
Since then he has sought help for his problems, and is starting a course in third level education this year it was added.
Judge Rory McCabe said that he was satisfied based on the evidence presented that the mandatory minimum sentence could be set aside.
There was no evidence of an “entrenched disposition” towards criminality in this case the judge said, adding that a prison sentence would likely “inhibit rehabilitation”.
Judge McCabe said that in light of the low risk of re-offending outlined in the Probation Report, there was no need for a deterrent in the form of a suspended sentence.
He ordered Callery to perform 240 hours of community service in lieu of a four year sentence.
“He is a very lucky man. Woe betide him if he comes back in here,” Judge McCabe concluded.
image credit: ‘Me’ Creative Commons via Flickr