A KILO of cocaine was found stashed under the driver’s seat of a car at a service station in Charleville and today the culprit claimed he was delivering it to clear a gambling debt.
Kevin Kinsella was sentenced at Cork Circuit Criminal Court today to a total of five years with the last three years suspended.
Kinsella of 66 Lower Carey’s Road, Limerick, admitted having cocaine for sale or supply on that occasion on July 24, 2019, at Amber service station, Rathgoggin South, Charleville, County Cork.
The drug had a street value exceeding €13,000 which allowed for a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years unless there were exceptional circumstances.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said he was enabled to depart from the indicative minimum by virtue of “his plea of guilty, his background and his previous non-infraction with drugs and given that he has some insight into his difficulties.”
The judge said the seriousness of the drugs offence merited the sentence of five years but the mitigating factors allowed for the suspension of the last three years.
One of the conditions of the suspension of the final three years required him to attend at residential treatment for his addiction difficulties on his release from prison.
Siobhán Lankford, defence senior counsel, said had been attending at Limerick drug and alcohol services and also had a gambling problem.
Garda Donal O’Connell testified that the suspicious activities were observed in a black Mercedes car and gardaí approached in order to conduct a search under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
Kevin Kinsella was the driver of the car and a kilo of cocaine was soon located under the driver’s seat.
Garda O’Connell said today, “He was arrested. He accepted he owed a gambling debt. He agreed to bring drugs to Limerick for cancellation of the debt. He was easy to deal with. I am aware he has a gambling addiction.”
Garda O’Connell said the father-of-six had not come to the attention of gardaí since this crime was detected.
Ms Lankford SC stressed that the 37-year-old had no previous drugs convictions and none since this time.
“He has an issue with drugs and alcohol and has a gambling problem. He suffers significantly from anxiety. He is not someone who was on the garda radar before this and not since.
“He has attended a pre-treatment course. I would ask you to postpone sentencing for him to attend for treatment,” Ms Lankford said in her submission.
The judge did not accede to this application and said there was not even a date for when the accused was due to commence his treatment programme.
He said it was too serious a case not to proceed to sentence where the defendant had acted as a courier for €70,000 worth of cocaine so that he could clear a gambling debt.