OVER €3,000 worth of cocaine was handed into gardaí in Westport after it was dropped on the street, a sitting of Castlebar Circuit Court heard last week.
The Court was told that a ziplock bag containing small packets of the white substance, totaling 47.33 grammes, was found left on Bridge Street in the town on November 27, 2017.
Wayne Cooney of 30, Parklands, Newport Road, Westport appeared before the Circuit Court charged with possession of drugs, namely cocaine, possession of cocaine for sale or supply, possession of cannabis and possession of cannabis for sale or supply.
Mr Cooney later pleaded guilty to two of the charges, possession of cocaine for sale or supply and possession of cannabis for sale or supply. The other charges were withdrawn.
Giving evidence, Larry O’Rourke, who found the package left on the bridge, said he was making his way to the Castlecourt Hotel at approximately 2.30pm when he noticed the package.
Mr O’Rourke said he was involved in the local Tidy Towns organisation and first thought the package was rubbish, before then thinking it was a packet of surgical gloves. However, Mr O’Rourke looked into the package and found eight small packs of white powder.
Mr O’Rourke said he had a suspicion as to what the bag contained and brought the package to Westport Garda Station. It was later tested and was valued at €70 per grammes, a total of €3,313.
Garda David Timlin then studied CCTV footage of the bridge from earlier that day and identified Cooney walking with another man over the bridge towards Bridge Street. The footage showed a package falling from Cooney’s right trouser pocket onto the footpath. The packet remained on the footpath for 17 minutes, where it was pushed aside by a walking stick, kicked to one side and then placed on top of the bridge, where Mr O’Rourke found it.
Later, Garda Timlin carried out surveillance of Cooney’s house, where he observed various people coming and going to the residence, waiting for ‘short periods of time’.
A search warrant was executed on the property on November 30 where a number of items were seized, including a large package of cannabis containing 46.1 grammes of the drug, valued at €922, a weighing scales, a ‘tick list’ containing names and amounts, and a large amount of ziplock bags.
Cooney’s previous convictions include possession of an article with intent to cause injury, possession of knives and other articles, and assault.
Before sentencing, Judge Seán Ó Bronnacháin cited the issue that these matters took place while Cooney was serving a two-year suspended sentence. Cooney has been sentenced to six years in prison for robbery, with the final two years suspended, on July 6, 2014. The judge decided to remand Cooney in custody until July 6 next to consider whether to impose the previous suspended sentence, adding that Cooney was ‘very young to have such a list of convictions’.