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Sunday 26 January 2020

Drugs-debt mum caught with €20k stash under stairs

Gardai searched the home
Gardai searched the home

A mother-of-three caught with €20,000 of cannabis under her stairs told gardai she was under financial pressure ahead of her child's confirmation, a court has heard.

Sonia Collins (38) pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to one count of possessing cannabis for sale or supply at her home in Kilcronan Avenue, Clondalkin, Dublin, on March 4 last year.

She told gardai she had run up a drug debt of €200 after buying some cocaine for social use and was then unable to repay it as her child's confirmation was coming up.

She told gardai she felt "stupid" for agreeing to hold the drugs, claiming she did not know the value of the cannabis. She will be sentenced on March 31.

Garda Vincent Jaffray told the court yesterday that gardai searched Collins's home after receiving a tip-off that she was holding drugs. After opening the door to officers, she immediately showed them the drugs under the stairs.

A small child was present in the house and gardai chose not to immediately arrest Collins. She presented at Tallaght Garda Station a couple of days later and was charged.

Collins declined to give gardai the name of the person who had given her the drugs to hold, saying she was fearful for her safety.

She said she had agreed to hold the drugs for "half an hour" but they were never collected.

Defence barrister James Dwyer SC, said his client was a single mother of three children aged between five and 12.

He said she struggled with heroin addiction up until she became pregnant with her first child.

Slipped

The court heard Collins had been methadone-free for years but she "slipped" and bought cocaine for social use shortly before the offence. She had one minor conviction.

Mr Dwyer said there were a number of mitigating factors that would allow Judge Melanie Greally not to impose the mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, including Collins's early guilty plea, co-operation with gardai and lack of criminal history.

Judge Greally adjourned the case for a probation report.

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