A father of three caught transporting drugs while walking with his newborn son has been jailed for two and a half years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Glen Guildea (28), of Barons Hall Grove, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty to possessing over €87,000 worth of cannabis, cocaine and ketamine for sale or supply on October 19th, 2018.
The court heard that Guildea was walking beside his partner, who was pushing a pram carrying their five-month-old son at Westbrook Estate, Balbriggan, when gardaí observed what they suspected was a drugs' transaction.
Garda Kevin Brennan told Simon Matthews Bl, prosecuting, that the couple approached a white Volkswagon polo and Guildea was seen handing over a plastic shopping bag into the passenger side of the car.
The driver of the car walked around to the passenger seat, took out the bag and put it in the boot.
Guildea heard someone shouting “get him” and started to run, but was apprehended after a bin lorry funnelled him into the path of gardaí.
Gardaí arrested Guildea and his partner, along with the driver of the car, who had been the main target of the garda operation.
The bag was found to contain 910g of cannabis, valued at €18,218. A warrant was obtained to search Guildea’s house, where a further quantity of cannabis was found in a bin.
A search of the attic revealed quantities of ketamine and cocaine, with the total value of all the drugs seized from the house and the boot of the car estimated at €87,841. Gardaí also found weighing scales and two mobile phones in Guildea’s house.
Guildea told gardaí he had a drug debt and had been asked to hold drugs and drop them to designated people, getting instructions over the phone. He said he had done this moving of drugs twice previously and that he had been threatened.
The court heard Guildea has two previous convictions for criminal damage, dating back to 2009.
Garda Brennan agreed with John Byrne SC, defending, that Guildea had not been on the garda radar at the time or since this offence.
The garda also agreed Guildea had been afraid that the plainclothes gardaí who chased him were not gardaí at all, and had in fact expressed relief when he discovered they were gardaí.
The court heard Guildea cooperated fully with gardaí and told them he was a “hidden weed smoker”.
Guildea told gardaí he had worked as a general operative with KC Doors until he had been made redundant some months before the offence. He said he kept smoking weed after he was laid off, leading to a bad debt.
Guildea said he was told there was a way to pay off the debt if he held drugs, however he could not give gardaí any further information as he said he would be killed.
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Gardaí accepted counsel’s submission that Guildea was a “low level operator; a storage man, just above a street dealer”, and that his sole involvement had been to move drugs from A to B.
Garda Brennan agreed that Guildea was a pleasant, personable, courteous individual who was genuinely remorseful for his actions.
The court heard that Guildea’s parents, who were present in court, had taken up their son’s debt and had accessed Credit Union loans to get him away from the people who had asked him to store drugs. Guildea’s mother paid €15,000 while his father paid €10,000.
Mr Byrne said that other than Guildea’s recreational cannabis smoking, he has no history of involvement in drug activity.
He said that while Guildea has taken steps to address his cannabis addiction, he still smokes on a recreational basis.
Passing sentence on Thursday, Judge Martin Nolan accepted that Guildea probably did not know the quantity of drugs involved and that he had been coerced into holding them and transporting them for third parties.
Judge Nolan said it was unlikely that Guildea would reoffend, noting that he had good mitigation and no great criminal record. He added that this was, unfortunately, a “very ordinary” type of offending, sentencing him to two and a half years in prison.