A defence barrister told Dundalk district court that his client, a father of three who was found with almost €1,000 worth of cocaine, was transporting drugs to pay off a debt, when he was arrested by gardaí.
Andrew Cooper (28) Castle Heights, Castletown Road, Dundalk, had previously admitted possessing benzocaine in circumstances giving rise to the inference that it was connected to a drug trafficking offence, and unlawful possession of cocaine and having the drug for sale or supply at Castle Road, Dundalk, on May 14th year.
The court had heard how he was 'extremely nervous' when the guards signaled the Volkswagen Jetta he was driving to stop.
Three separate quantities of cocaine were found, two in the boot concealed in a gift bag in a baby’s buggy. They had a total estimated street value of €999.
White plastic gloves and £6,500 sterling were discovered hidden in the glove compartment when the car was searched. Mr Cooper had €185 and €40 in separate pockets and a lodgement receipt from PTSB was also recovered.
The court heard he 'took ownership of all the items'.
A separate prosecution was before the court over the unlawful possession of €50 worth of cocaine at Drive One, Muirhevnamor on March 31st last.
The case had previously been adjourned for further mitigation on behalf of Mr. Cooper , who had no previous convictions.
On Wednesday Decemeber 15th, documents were handed to Judge John Brennan and the defence barrister said his client had been engaging with his GP and urged the court to give him a chance.
He had turned to the use of illicit substances in the past and became chronically addicted, accumulating a significant debt.
However, the barrister stressed that on the date in question, he was transporting drugs to write off a portion of this debt.
He is now working full-time for a contractor at Intel and is now under no financial constraints owing money.
The counsel urged the court to assess this client's suitability for the Drugs Court.
Judge Brennan said there had to be some level of deterrent as the country was ‘awash with drugs’.
He noted Mr. Cooper had no previous convictions, was working and was engaging with his GP saying "We all know how drug debts are dealt with by the underworld."
The judge added that he was satisfied he should give Cooper a chance and remanded him on continuing bail to March 2nd for the preparation of a probation report to assess his suitability for the Drugs Court but he warned him there was a lot of hard work ahead.
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