A 41-year-old man who denied under oath being a drug dealer told Dundalk district court last week that weighing scales found in his home with traces of white powder were for baking.
Nicholas Muckian made the claim when Judge John Coughlan asked him to explain the item, which was found during a high-security Garda drugs raid two years ago.
Supt. Gerry Curley of Dundalk Garda Station had made a Police Property Application to seize €700 in cash that was recovered from Mr. Muckian’s rented home at Sportsman’s Hall on the Armagh Road, Dundalk on June 22nd 2016.
A detective told the court that a number of planned searches were carried out on that date as part of Operation Scale - an ongoing garda operation targeting drugs and organised crime.
Gardaí also recovered a small block of cannabis resin, along with digital weighing scales and a mirror – both with traces of white powder and a bag containing trace amounts of cocaine.
A key to a Mercedes Benz car was also found in the kitchen, which Mr. Muckian claimed was for a 2008 model parked in Newry.
However, the court heard the vehicle was parked at another location in Dundalk, at Schomberg Close, which was also being searched that day by the Criminal Assets Bureau.
It was subsequently established that the number plates of the car had been cloned and it had been stolen in a burglary in Lucan.
During his Garda interview at the time, Mr. Muckian said he had been living at the address for the last eight years, and claimed that the €700 was for rent.
The detective said the respondent wasn’t working or claiming social welfare at the time.
The court heard that following the investigation, Nicholas Muckian was charged with a number of offences, but the DPP subsequently directed he only be prosecuted for unlawful possession of the cannabis.
The Defence solicitor said his client had a Credit Union statement to show he'd withdrawn €850 in April that year from his savings.
In the witness box, Mr. Muckian said that he had worked as a welder for a local engineering firm for 15 years and was “on the sick” for a back injury and the money was from his savings.
When Judge John Coughlan put it to him “You are a drug dealer” he replied “Definitely not” and when the judge asked him to explain the weighing scales, Nicholas Muckian told him “I make buns”.
The Judge made an order forfeiting the money to the State saying “He’s a drug dealer and he's telling me lies".