A DRUG ‘gofer’ who was transporting over €6,000 of ecstasy tablets to pay off a drug debt was sentenced to two years imprisonment with the final 12 months suspended at Castlebar Circuit Court last week.
Stephen Boyd of 54 Bunratty Drive, Coolock, Dublin 17 was stopped by gardaí on the Dublin road near Swinford after he was placed under surveillance by gardaí. Detective Garda Sinéad Caheny explained that 1,294 ecstasy tablets were found under the steering column when the car was stopped and searched at 1.14pm on May 19, 2011.
Mr Boyd (44) had been placed under surveillance by gardaí when he arrived in Ballina that afternoon after gardaí received information that ecstasy tablets were to be collected in the town. Mr Boyd was seen pulling into a filling station on the Foxford Road and met with people in another car before driving off.
Det Garda Caheny said that tablets had a street value of €6,470 and €1,500 in cash was also seized from the car. Mr Boyd told the gardaí that he was bringing the drugs to Dublin to pay off a drug debt and is facing similar offences in Trim Circuit Court to which he had pleaded guilty.
Mr Dean Kelly, BL for Mr Boyd explained that his client’s nephew had committed suicide having owned money to drug dealers in the Ballymun and Finglas area and they had passed the debt onto Mr Boyd. He said his client had been forced to act as a ‘gofer’ and that is how he was caught.
The court heard that Mr Boyd was a father of four children who had abused drink and drugs when he was younger but was now in a stable relationship. He had previous convictions and was jailed for six months for handling stolen property in 2004.
Judge Thomas E O’Donnell said he would factor in what Mr Kelly said but added the ‘message must go out loud and clear’ of the consequences of people transporting drugs. While he considered Mr Boyd’s offence to be at the lower end of the scale he added that it was a serious offence.
Judge O’Donnell sentenced Mr Boyd to two years imprisonment but suspended the last 12 months on the condition he is of good behaviour for three years post release. He also ordered the destruction of the drugs and the forfeiture of the €1,500 in cash.