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Westmeath Man Pleads Guilty To Possession Of €260,000 In Drugs And Loaded Guns

The court heard the father of two had the drugs and weapons in his possession as a way of paying off a drug debt of around €16,000.

A Co Westmeath man has pleaded guilty to possession of drugs worth almost €260,000 for sale or supply and firearms loaded with live ammunition at his home last year.

Mullingar Circuit Criminal Court heard gardaí discovered three kilogrammes of cocaine and 400 grammes of heroin during a search of the home of Thomas Doran at New Ballinderry Cottages, Mullingar, Co Westmeath on November 2, 2020.

Gardaí found a black bag containing five Sig Sauer pistols and one Beretta pistol on a compost heap in the back garden of the bungalow which backs out onto the Royal Canal during a further search of the property on the following day.

A total of 82 rounds of ammunition were also discovered during the operation which involved the local detective unit, the divisional drugs unit, the Garda Armed Support Unit and Garda Dog Unit.

Detective Garda Andrew Corbett told the court that the value of the cocaine found on the property was €209,947, with the heroin worth a further €48,672.

Det Garda Corbett said all the handguns had been converted to fire live ammunition and were “fully loaded” and “with no safety catch.”

He said three of the pistols had 15 rounds of ammunition each, with two pistols containing 14 rounds each and the other loaded with nine rounds.

The court heard that Doran, a 32-year-old father of two, had a drug habit and had the drugs and weapons in his possession as a way of paying off a drug debt of around €16,000.

Det Garda Corbett said Doran had fully admitted to his role in possessing the drugs but had only made admissions about his knowledge of the guns and ammunition during a sixth interview by gardaí after the accused was shown a photo of the weapons on his mobile phone.

He told counsel for the DPP, John Hayden SC that Doran admitted being given the firearms in one delivery last October.

The court heard tests subsequently confirmed that the accused’s DNA was found on the firearms.

Det Garda Corbett said Doran believed he had been given the firearms and ammunition to mind by a person from Edenderry, Co Offaly who had recently been released from prison.

The court heard that Doran had previously passed another handgun in his possession to an unknown female who had brought it to Athlone before collecting a half kilo of cocaine which she delivered to the Drogheda/Dundalk area.

Under cross-examination by Gerard Groarke BL for Doran, Det Garda Corbett agreed that the accused had “no trappings of wealth.”

While Doran was charged with serious offences, the witness said he was “not at the higher tier” of individuals controlling the drugs and weapons.

“At the same time, he played an important part,” Det Garda Corbett added.

The court heard that Doran had started using cannabis aged 13 before progressing to more serious drugs.

Although he had attended a rehab centre in Limerick in 2017 to become drug free, Doran continued to receive threats over a drug debt.

Mr Groarke said his client had been threatened with having his house burnt down and his family attacked, while his mother had a can of paint thrown over her car as a warning.

The barrister said Doran had begun using drugs again in the past two years following the deaths of his uncle and grandmother, who had effectively been his parents during his childhood.

Judge Keenan Johnson adjourned sentencing in the case until Tuesday and remanded Doran in continuing custody.

Another male who was arrested with Doran at his home and a female linked to the offences are also due before the courts later this year.

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