A 19 year old father-of-one who stored cocaine valued at over €57,000 in his bedroom cabinet and car was “an important link for the drugs barons”, a Circuit Court judge said.
Judge Michael O’Shea was speaking at the sentencing of Mr James Lee, who pleaded guilty to the offence.
“He was well aware what he was getting involved in was an extremely serious matter,” the judge said during sentencing.
“He was getting some gain even though he was at the lower end, a low level player.”
“People in the drugs trade thrive and survive on people like Mr Lee who they can influence for small money.”
Earlier, Sgt Mark Carley told the court that Mr Lee had shown him the cocaine after he arrived at his family home in Kennycourt, Barretstown, Naas, Co Kildare.
The sergeant held a search warrant issued as a result of confidential information he had received.
At the time of the offence, Mr Lee was living at home with his father, and his girlfriend was pregnant. His infant son is now ten months old.
Mr Lee told the sergeant he was paid €500 to store cocaine in his car, and €300 for cocaine in his bedroom, which he was holding for an unnamed third party.
In addition to 836 grams of cocaine, with an estimated street value of €57,825.11, Gardai also recovered two weighing scales and a list of names during the search.
Mr Roger Sweetman SC described his client as “a somewhat immature young man”.
“He may not have given proper consideration to what he was getting himself into,” he said.
However, he said the young man had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, and cooperated with Gardai.
“I was stupid,” Mr Lee told the judge. “I’ve regretted it ever since.”
Judge O’Shea said he had to balance the immaturity of Lee against the factual circumstances of the case.
The judge said the amount recovered “was a substantial amount of cocaine.”
“The effect of drugs on society is devastating in the extreme,” he added, imposing a five year custodial sentence.