A Kildare taxi driver under financial pressure who was storing almost a quarter of a million euro of cocaine for drug dealers has been jailed for four and a half years.
Stephen Boylan (51), a separated father of two, was storing the drugs in a wooden cabin where he lived at the rear of a house.
Boylan of The Meadows, Newtown, Kill, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the drugs for sale or supply at his home on May 28, 2020. He has no previous convictions.
Judge Martin Nolan noted in mitigation that Boylan had explained his role to gardai and followed that with an early guilty plea. He said Boylan was a good family man who was unlikely to reoffend.
He said Boylan had “got in over his head” and then felt he had to stay in, which was not unusual.
Judge Nolan said circumstances of the case allowed him to depart from the presumptive minimum mandatory sentence of ten years application to this offence. He imposed a four and a half year sentence.
Garda Michael Martin told Eoin Lawlor BL, prosecuting, that gardai acting on confidential information carried out a surveillance operation and searched a chalet or cabin in which Boylan was living in at the rear of a house.
In the wooden building they found cocaine valued at €245,388 and a small amount of cannabis.
Gardai also recovered bagging materials and a mobile phone with the app “Wickr” installed where messages are deleted after a period of time. He had been receiving instruction in relation to the drugs on the phone.
Boylan fully accepted his role and told gardai he had got about €1,000 over the time he had been holding the drugs. He said he had fallen into financial trouble and those involved had information on him so that he was unable to extricate himself. He said he did not pack drugs, only hold them.
The court heard he was separated from his wife and had lived in the cabin for 5 years.
Gda Martin agreed with Anne Marie Lawlor SC, defending, that Boylan had been prevailed upon by persons he came into contact with as he was a useful person for the transportation of drugs.
He agreed Boylan was on “the very lowest rung” and at the point he was apprehended he could not extricate himself as he was under some degree of pressure.
Ms Lawlor said in March 2020 Boylan's taxi business had “hit a wall” and prior to that he had lived a good life. She said he had made a grave error of judgement as a result of financial difficulties.
She handed in a “enormous amount” of testimonials illustrating that Boylan had led a “blameless life” until he had this error of judgement. She submitted it had been accepted by the gardai that at the point he was apprehended he had no choice.
Ms Lawlor said he has undertaken courses and volunteered while in custody, as well as holding a trusted position.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.