February 9, 2011

A drug dealer who supplied heroin to addicts across Co Donegal hid and dealt the drugs from his garden shed.

Thomas O’Neill brought the drugs in from Scotland anally and then sold them from his house to a list of addicts from his home outside Doochary.

When Gardai raided O’Neill’s house, he had two mobile phones – one with just the names of drug users which he supplied.

Garda Sgt Tony Arnold told Letterkenny Circuit Court he received information that O’Neill was dealing heroin a few months earlier before he raided his home at Ballinacarrick in September 2009.

Sgt Arnold and three other Gardai raided O’Neill’s home at 11pm but despite searching the house they could not find any drugs.

However when they went to a shed at the back of O’Neill’s house, they discovered €20 notes on the floor and some small bags of heroin.

After further searching the shed for three hours they discovered two balloons containing more than €3,200 worth of heroin in the loft of the shed.

During the raid O’Neill admitted he had swallowed two bags of heroin when Gardai arrived and he was forced to pass it out.

He claimed he bought the drugs in Scotland for £850 stg but would not tell Gardai who he had bought it off.

Sgt Arnold, a former member of the Drugs Squad, said he had spoken to drug addicts in the fishing port of Killybegs and O’Neill’s name kept coming up.

He said O’Neill also had a heroin habit and, despite only getting €230 unemployment benefit, had a habit of up to €100 a day.

However whenever he was stopped by Gardai, he was never found with heroin.
Judge John O’Hagan asked if the sting followed a long surveillance operation before Garda swooped.

However Sgt Arnold said O’Neill’s drug dealing den was so remote that they could not keep it under surveillance.

The Garda investigator said he thought O’Neill was now clean, had put on a stone in weight and had stopped dealing drugs.

Judge O’Hagan asked Sgt Arnold if he deserved a chance.

“I don’t think sending him to prison will do him any good mixing with certain people,” said Sgt Arnold.

Judge O’Hagan adjourned sentencing for one year and ordered O’Neill to “keep his bib clean” and he will stay out of prison.


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