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Debts-hit dad jailed over €270k drug haul

An unemployed father-of-two who agreed to transport a large amount of cannabis because he was stuck for money to pay a medical bill has been jailed for three-and-half years.

Ian Martin (24) had been approached in a pub in Raheny by someone who "seemed to know his personal circumstances" and asked if he wanted to make cash "on a no-questions-asked basis".

He was directed a few days later, after receiving a call on a mobile phone he had been supplied with, to collect over €270,000 worth of cannabis herb and resin from Kildare train station.

Martin was due to deliver the drugs to Raheny Dart Station when gardai, acting on confidential information, stopped his car on the Naas dual carriageway.

He was pale and extremely nervous when questioned by gardai, who got a strong smell of cannabis from the car.

The drugs, €170,000 worth of cannabis resin and €100,982 worth of cannabis herb, were found in three boxes in the boot and back seat of the car.

Martin, of Belmayne Court South, Clarehall, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the drugs for sale or supply on October 18, 2011. Detective Garda Liam Brennan told Garnet Orange, prosecuting, that Martin made admissions to the gardai during interview and said he had agreed to transport the drugs for €500.

Conor Devally, defending, said his client now has an 18-month-old son and a three-month-old daughter.

The medical bill of €300 related to admissions to Temple Street and visits to his GP.

"This is a man who should be giving to society and caring for his partner and children," Mr Devally said.

Judge Nolan accepted that Martin was "for his own reasons desperate for money" but added that he knew what he was doing was illegal.

hnews@herald.ie