A HEROIN dealer in Cork city who was caught with thousands of euro worth of the drug on three separate occasions is now starting a five-year jail term.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said there was only one single mitigating factor in the multiple cases against Michael Veale and that was his plea of guilty to all counts at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
Michael Veale, aged 40, a native of Dungarvan, pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to nine separate charges relating to the seizures by gardaí in Cork on March 18, April 17 and May 8 2019.
Garda Michael Walsh testified that he stopped and searched Veale on Albert Road in Cork on March 18 and found €1,530 worth of heroin in his trousers before getting a warrant to search his flat at Park View, Victoria Road in Cork.
In the flat, the officers found €13,159 worth of heroin to bring the total drugs haul to €14,689 along with €2,125 in cash and Veale admitted being a heroin addict who was using between five and six bags of heroin a day.
Garda Walsh then told the court how gardaí searched an address at Charlemont Terrace on Wellington Road on April 17 where they found Veale in a bedroom where they also found €34,850 worth of heroin and €900 in cash.
They also found drug paraphernalia in the bedroom and while Veale initially denied any knowledge of the drugs, he later took responsibility for them and said he owed €18,000 to a dealer on foot of the earlier drugs seizure in March.
Less than a month later, gardaí carried out another search under warrant of a house on Sunday’s Well Road where they again found Veale in a bedroom where they also found €2,087 worth of heroin and €285 in cash.
Veale took responsibility for the drugs and admitted he was consuming up to five or six bags of heroin a day, said Garda Walsh, adding Veale had 142 previous convictions including one for drug dealing and six for simple possession.
Defence barrister, Paula McCarthy BL said that Veale was originally from Dungarvan but had been living with the Simon Community in Cork for the past 19 years and was currently on a methadone programme on remand in jail.
Judge Sean O Donnabhain noted that Veale had pleaded guilty to all nine offences and he accepted that he was struggling to cope with his addiction particularly when he was out in the community.
“He has a miserable life and if I was to take a charitable view, he would be better off in custody – he’s around town for the last 19 years, taking drugs – he’d better off if I gave him ten years in jail,” he said.
The biggest thing in Veale’s favour was his guilty pleas to all nine charges which included four counts of possession, four counts of possession for sale or supply and one count of possessing over €13,000 worth of drugs for sale of supply.
Judge O Donnabhain said that Veale was his own worst enemy with “a raging addiction to drugs” and he was ending up drug dealing every time he was back in the community because he owed money to those who were supplying him.
The judge said he would impose a two year jail term for the March drug dealing charge and a five-year concurrent term for the April drug dealing charge with two years consecutive which he would suspend for the May drug dealing.