A Mallow businessman who went bankrupt and ended up driving a taxi resorted to holding on to a stash of cocaine at his home.
Martin Ward (also known as John Martin Ward) was caught with cocaine for sale or supply on November 19 2019 at his home at The Crescent, College Wood, Mallow, County Cork.
Garda Brendan McGarry said the cocaine had a street value of over €9,000.
Gardaí obtained a warrant to search Ward’s home on that date on the basis of confidential information.
Officers from the Mallow drug unit and uniformed officers arrived at the defendant’s home on November 19 2019.
As soon as they arrived to carry out the search, the defendant made them aware of the stash of cocaine which he had on the property.
“He pointed out the location of it,” Garda McGarry said.
Ward was arrested at the scene and taken to Mallow garda station where he was questioned in relation to the matter.
“He agreed he was holding it for another person for monetary compensation. He would have given an explanation – it was financial desperation, he had a business which went bankrupt, it went bust – and he was under financial pressures.
“He was a taxi driver by trade, he is still involved in driving a taxi.
“He agreed he made a mistake in agreeing to hold on to the drugs,” Garda McGarry said.
Donal O’Sullivan, defence barrister, said, “He was ashamed of himself. Gardaí accept that.”
Garda McGarry said, “We accept there was wilful ignorance. He would have had to know the drugs had a value but I don’t think he had any knowledge of the drugs trade.”
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin took into consideration the view that the accused was unlikely to be further involved in the drug trade.
The judge imposed a two-year sentence which he suspended on condition that the accused would keep the peace for the next two years.
“That should be a sufficient deterrent,” Judge Ó Donnabháin said at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.