Two men have been jailed for their role in transporting over almost €1.2 million worth of cannabis resin last year.
Anthony Larkin (46), of Killarney Park, Bray, Co Wicklow, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession for sale or supply of just over 92kg of the drugs, worth an estimated €556,800 just outside Brittas, Co Dublin, on April 1st, 2022.
Gerard Windrum (38), of Oliver Bond House, Dublin, pleaded guilty to possession for sale or supply of 105kg of the same drug, worth just over €630,000, at a storage unit in Mount Seskin, Tallaght on the same date.
Larkin has no previous convictions. Windrum has 103 previous convictions, the majority of which are for road traffic offences, but include a conviction for the sale or supply of 1kg of heroin.
Judge Martin Nolan said there was no doubt that both men were couriers and “getting little or nothing” but possible alleviation for a debt.
“But they were mature men and unfortunately for everyone they entered into this,” the judge said.
He acknowledged that they were both “well liked” by their family and their community and they have a good work history.
“Both have particular problems that rendered them vulnerable to temptations put in front of them,” Judge Nolan said.
He sentenced Windrum to eight years in prison, having taken into account his earlier conviction for a similar offence. He sentenced Larkin to five years in prison.
Detective Garda Val Russell told Katherine McGillicuddy BL prosecuting, that gardaí had a storage unit in Mount Seskin under surveillance following a tip off when they saw Windrum arrive in a van. He removed four bags from the unit and loaded them into the van.
Gardaí then followed the van until Windrum parked up in a carpark on the Blessington Road in Brittas. Larkin then arrived into the carpark. Windrum and Larkin spoke for a few minutes before they drove off in tandem, Windrum leading the way.
Det Gda Russell said the two vehicles pulled up into a second location in Brittas where Windrum transferred the four bags, with Larkin’s assistance, into Larkin’s vehicle. The two vehicles drove off in different direction but were followed by gardaí and stopped a short time later.
The keys for the storage unit were found on Windrum and a follow-up search of the unit revealed 105kg of cannabis resin, while the four bags found in Larkin’s van were found to contain just over 92kg of the same drug.
Both men were arrested and taken in for questioning during which Larkin said his life was in danger because of a drug debt. He said he had been approached and given instructions about what to do. He said he was very sorry.
Det Gda Russell agreed with Fiona Murphy SC, defending, that Windrum’s baby died due to cot death in October 2000 which led to an escalation in his drug use. He accepted that Windrum was a vulnerable person.
He agreed with Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, defending, that there is a second case pending against Larkin relating to him collecting €37,000 “on behalf of third parties” in January this year. He is facing a charge of money laundering.
Ms Murphy told Judge Nolan that her client had experienced a very difficult time and slipped back into cocaine use as a coping mechanism following the death of his child.
She said his addiction spiralled and he found himself in serious debt with no reality of being able to pay it off. She said he was put in fear of his life and “felt he was not in a position to say no”.
Ms Murphy submitted that her client “was vulnerable and exploited by more sinister people”.
Mr Ó Lideadha handed in testimonials on behalf of his client which described him as very reliable and said he helped in the local community. He was described as “a hard-working and trusting person” who “lives for his kids”.