THE biggest heroin seizure ever made in Cork city resulted in the culprit being jailed for six years today.
Detective Garda Paul Leahy described how 30-year-old Kevin Bulman had just stepped off an air-coach bus from Dublin to Cork and walked to a taxi on St Patrick’s Street when drugs squad gardaí awaiting his arrival arrested him.
He had almost €350,000 worth of heroin weighing two and a half kilos in his rucksack.
Kevin Bulman, who is from Youghal but currently of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to possessing Diamorphine (heroin) for or sale or supply at Patrick Street in Cork on November 5, 2019, at a time when it exceeded the €13,000 street value.
For a crime of that sort, the judge said there was just about enough for him to depart from the mandatory ten-year minimum.
Detective Garda Paul Leahy of Cork City Divisional Drugs Unit told how gardaí mounted an operation after obtaining information that a large of heroin was to be moved from Dublin to Cork.
Detectives arrested him and brought him to the Bridewell Garda Station where they searched his rucksack and found a Dunnes Stores bag containing ten packets of heroin amounting to a total of 2.5 kilos of the drug with a street value of almost €350,000.
Gardai also found three mobile phones as well as some €1,792 worth of cocaine concealed in Bulman’s jacket and while he initially did not engage with gardaí at interview, he later told them the cocaine was for his own use.
He told gardaí he had agreed to act as a courier bringing the heroin to Cork because of a drug debt and while he admitted he knew it was heroin, he claimed not to know the amount and had just been given the bag to deliver.
He also told them that he was given the cocaine for transporting the drugs to Cork and while gardaí accepted that Bulman was a heroin addict, they did not accept he was as chronic an addict as he claimed, said Det Garda Leahy.
Gardai did not accept Bulman was under duress when he agreed to bring the heroin to Cork as he was unable to tell them the size of the debt he claimed he owed but they accepted the cocaine was payment for couriering the drugs.
Det Garda Leahy told the court that Bulman refused to give gardaí the access codes to his mobile phones which would have been of considerable assistance to gardaí investigating the supply of heroin in Cork city.
Bulman had a total of 52 previous convictions including three for simple possession of drugs but he had none for possessing drugs for sale or supply while he also had convictions for threatening to kill and assaults causing harm.
Defence barrister, Peter O’Flynn BL pointed out that his client had assisted the state with his guilty plea and he asked the court to also take into account that he was an addict of many years as he pleaded for leniency.
Judge Sean O Donnabhain said there was no underestimating the seriousness of the charge given the amount of heroin that Bulman had been caught with and his response upon arrest was equivocal at best.
He accepted that Bulman had a long standing addiction but he did question how serious the addiction was at the time he was given the drugs to bring to Cork for somebody else.
“It’s hard to think that somebody so raddled with drugs would be entrusted with €350,000 worth of heroin,” said Judge O Donnabhain, adding that he believed his guilty plea was a significant mitigating factor.
The judge imposed a sentence of eight years but suspended the last two years.