Care worker caught with drugs and a machine gun is jailed

A care worker with no history of drug dealing has been jailed for five years after gardaí found nearly €30,000 worth of cocaine, a machine gun and a handgun at his home.
Care worker caught with drugs and a machine gun is jailed

Declan Brennan

A care worker with no history of drug dealing has been jailed for five years after gardaí found nearly €30,000 worth of cocaine, a machine gun and a handgun at his home.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that James Murphy had been living with his parents and begun abusing cocaine after their death.

He had built up a drug debt and was forced to agree to store the drugs and firearms, his lawyers told Judge Martin Nolan.

Murphy (48) pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine, heroin and cannabis with a total estimated street value of €38,546 at his then home on Crannog Road, Ballymun, Dublin.

He also pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a submachine gun and a Smith and Wesson revolver.

Garda Conor Garland told Sinéad McMullan BL, prosecuting, that when gardaí arrived at Murphy's home to execute a search warrant, Murphy let them in and co-operated with the search.

Bullets

He said Murphy was living alone at the house. Gardaí found the revolver under the floorboards upstairs and found it loaded with four bullets.

The machine gun was found in the house and Murphy told gardaí he had been instructed by the people who gave him the drugs and guns to “keep the machine gun handy”.

Cocaine with an estimated street value of €27,600, around €4,000 of heroin and around €7,000 worth of cannabis were found during the search.

Murphy told gardaí that he was spending up to €400 a week on cocaine and had built up a drug debt of around €6,000. His only two previous criminal convictions are for road traffic offences in 2007.

Ronan Munro SC, defending, told the court that Murphy was working as a care worker and was living in social isolation and taking drugs and drinking at home alone.

Counsel said his client nursed his parents up to their deaths and that this affected him. He said he was almost on a path of self-destruction at the time of this offending but has since got his life together, has found himself a new home and “started to live his life again”.

Judge Martin Nolan said that these were very serious offences and that Murphy should have had an idea that the only reason people would want these firearms is to cause injury.

He noted the mitigation of Murphy's good history of work and his personal challenges at the time. He said he was also taking into consideration Murphy's positive involvement in the community, and noted the “impressive letters written on his behalf”.

The judge imposed a five-year prison sentence.

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