Thursday, May 18, 2023

Eimear Dodd

A former construction worker who was holding over €1 million worth of cocaine and heroin at his home has been jailed for five years.

John Reeves (58), of Birches Road, Wedgewood, Sandyford, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cocaine and heroin for sale or supply at the same address on October 20th, 2022.

Judge Martina Baxter suspended the final two years of a seven-year prison term on condition that Reeves abide by all directions of the Probation Service including attending for grief and addiction counselling, training and employment.

Garda Shane Donovan told Liam Dockery BL, prosecuting, that during a search of Reeves’ address, gardaí found a pink suitcase containing eight small blocks of heroin and seven blocks of cocaine.

Each block of heroin weighed approximately 0.5kg, while each block of cocaine weighed around 1kg. The heroin had an estimated value of around €560,000, while the cocaine was valued at approximately €490,000.

Reeves later voluntarily attended a Garda station and said he knew the suitcase contained drugs but did not know what type. He said he took possession of the suitcase in a shopping centre car park.

Reeves told gardaí he had addiction issues and financial difficulties, which included a drug debt. He took responsibility for the drugs and told gardaí his family was not involved.

Reeves has no previous convictions and has not come to negative garda attention since this incident. He previously worked in construction and faced financial difficulties following the economic downturn, the court heard.

Drug issues

Gda Donovan agreed with Michael Bowman SC, defending, that Reeves told gardaí he thought he was holding cannabis and became ill when told what type of drugs had been in the suitcase.

He agreed that the father of two developed a drug problem following the death of his son some years ago.

Reeves completed drug treatment but relapsed following the breakdown of his relationship. He and his wife had separated and Reeves was not living in the house at the time of the offence and had been staying with a friend.

The garda witness accepted that Reeves would have had no control over the nature or quantity of drugs he was asked to hold in order to reduce a drug debt of €3,000. He also agreed that Reeves was afraid for his family and himself.

The court heard Reeves hid the drugs in the attic without the knowledge of his family. Gda Donovan accepted that Reeves’s account seemed genuine and he was ashamed of his actions but felt he had no other choice.

The guard also agreed that no evidence of drug dealing had been found in the house and that Reeves had no interest in the drugs.

Mr Bowman said his client had made a “catastrophic error of judgement”. He added his client has taken steps to deal with his addiction issues and evidence of clean urinalysis was handed to the court.

A letter from Reeves was read to the court in which he apologised to the court, gardaí and others for his actions. A number of testimonials were also handed into the court on his behalf.

Mr Bowman said his client is doing well in custody and is an enhanced prisoner. He has engaged with psychological services in prison and volunteers as a listener with the Samaritans.

Counsel submitted to Judge Baxter that his client’s role was at the lower end of the scale, asking the judge to take into consideration his client’s early guilty plea, his work history and the fact he took responsibility for the drugs.

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