Gardai posed as couriers in a sting operation which uncovered a €200,000 drugs haul in Donegal.
Officers received information that drugs were being shipped into the country from Frankfurt in Germany to Dublin Airport and on to an address in Letterkenny
They set up an elaborate sting operation posing as delivery man and even used a white van and fake dockets to send the parcel during a “controlled delivery.”
Gardai initially called to the drop-off address at 29 Glentane Close on November 6th last but there was nobody home.
Gardai left a fake docket which included a telephone number of a mobile phone especially purchased for the sting operation.
Later that day they received two calls to the mobile by a man calling himself Paul Matthews, the name on the courier delivery docket.
Once the package was inside the house and had been signed for, members of the Gardai and the Drugs Squad rushed into the premises with a search warrant.
The uncovered Mephedrone tablets with a street value of €139,695.
A man, later known to be Simon Crawford, was arrested and he admitted having the drugs for sale or supply.
In a follow-up operation at Lisnennan View, Gardai found another haul of drugs estimated to be worth €69,930 in what officers believed was a ‘mixing house’ for the drugs.
When interviewed Crawford, of York Avenue, Portstewart, Co Derry, admitted having received between 10 and 15 such packages and admitted he had been a drug user since he was 15 but was now clean.
Garda Paul Harte said he did not believe that Crawford, now 29, was the main person behind the operation but that he only earned a bout €300 for each package delivered.
The court was told the drugs were usually left in an ESB box for someone else to collect to be moved on.
The court was told the drugs found were once legal in headshops in Ireland but they had since been outlawed under 2011 legislation.
They were mephedrone and were usually snorted into the body
Crawford’s mother told Judge O’Hagan that her son had suffered a series of setbacks in life and had not met his father since he was very small.
He had been on drugs and had tried to take his own life on a number of occasions.
A retired PSNI officer, Samuel McMullan, who knew Crawford described him as “industrious” but said he had fallen into bad company.
Judge John O’Hagan said that once people get locked in with these people (drug barons), it was very hard to extricate yourself from them.
He said he appreciated that some very upstanding people including his mother and Mr McMullan had spoken well on his behalf.
But he said he ha to send out a message that importing drugs was a very serious matter.
He jailed Crawford for five years and suspended the last two years off the day while also backdating it to November 6th when he first went into custody.