Cocaine in exchange for milking cows: Cork dairy farmer sentenced for drug dealing

Cocaine in exchange for milking cows: Cork dairy farmer sentenced for drug dealing

The son of a Cork County Councillor used a farmyard as a location for drug dealing and one customer offered to milk cows for cocaine.

Barry Coleman, 30, and son of Independent councillor Alan Coleman, was given a 10-month jail sentence for the sale and supply of cocaine, with Bandon District Court hearing that some customers collected the drug at his farmyard.

Coleman, of Ballinacourtha, Belgooly, Co Cork and a dairy farmer, had already pleaded guilty and a probation report had been requested.

However, when it came to determining penalty, Judge James McNulty noted what he called inconsistencies between some of what was contained in the report by the Probation Service, and the evidence of investigating gardaí.

It resulted in Detective Garda Colin O’Mahony giving details of how Coleman was found at Cois Bruach, Curra in Riverstick on April 5 last year with three bags of cocaine and €230 in cash, and also of the string of text messages found on a black iPhone which indicated the extent to which he was supplying drugs to others.

Det Garda O’Mahony said he was on plainclothes duty in Riverstick when he came across the accused at 10.20pm. Mr Coleman later admitted to using cocaine, saying he had done so for between nine months and a year and did between two and six lines a night at weekends. He repeatedly denied supplying to others even though Det Garda O’Mahony said “the messages told a different story”.

Judge McNulty then read through a sample of the text message exchanges, one of which said “Any chance of a fifty for Sunday? Or I can milk for you Sunday, I’m off”.

Other exchanges highlighted how the farmyard was where drugs were collected. 

“Go through that yard straight up to the top yard,” read one message. “I’ll be milking. Go straight on up to the dairy.” Mr Coleman had been charged with possession and possession of drugs for the purposes of sale and supply.

The court heard he was a “substantial” dairy farmer and that the farm was in the process of being transferred to him.

His solicitor, Diarmuid O’Shea, said his client had “turned his life around” and had undertaken addiction counselling, but the judge queried why in the probation report Coleman had “underplayed” the extent of his drug activities.

Judge McNulty said: “It is clear to me what he wanted to do was fund his drug use from the profits made selling to others.” He remarked on how one customer had offered to do milking in exchange, adding: “As if the profits from dairy farming weren’t good enough”.

He handed Coleman a 10-month sentence and fined him €2,000 on the possession charge. An appeal was lodged on Coleman’s bond of €1,000. No cash required.

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