Monday 18 December 2017

Staff nurse in crystal meth sting begs to stay out of jail

A STAFF nurse in a Dublin hospital caught with crystal methamphetamine has begged a judge to leave him without a conviction as he could lose his job.

John De Lara (44) shoved a bag of crystal meth into his mouth after he turned up at his friends house while gardai were searching it.

A court heard De Lara is supporting a family in Ireland, and also sending money home to help relatives in The Philippines, who were devastated by an earthquake last October.

He and his friends Jocelyn Paque (43) and Arnold Gonzales (37) claimed they did not realise the seriousness of having crystal meth as its use in the Philippines, where it's called shabu, is similar to cannabis use in Ireland.

Judge Michael Walsh said he needed time to consider the matters and adjourned sentencing to Monday.

De Lara, of Colepark Green in Ballyfermot, admitted before Dublin District Court to possession of crystal methamphetamine at Marlborough Road, Dublin 7 on March 31 last.

De Lara also admitted to obstructing gardai under the misuse of drugs act.

Gonzales and Paque admitted to possession of crystal meth at the same time and place.

Garda Eoghan Byrne said he obtained a search warrant and searched a basement flat at Marlborough Road, the home of Paque and Gonzales.

During the course of the search, two small bags of crystal meth were found by gardai.

Gda Byrne said De Lara arrived at the flat while gardai were searching it.

He put a packet in his mouth and tried to swallow it, but spat it out when ordered to do so.

The court heard the defendants have never been in trouble before. Defence lawyer Edel Gilligan said De Lara is working full time as a staff nurse. He is married and has four children, three of whom are in Ireland.


Ms Gilligan said De Lara was under a lot of stress at the time of this offence, and was struggling financially.

He was using a small amount of crystal meth to alleviate his stress, adding that its use is part of the culture in the Philippines.

In relation to Gonzales, a gardener, and Paque, a cleaner, solicitor Michael Kelleher said the pair now realised their behaviour was extremely foolish.

Mr Kelleher said they co-operated fully with gardai.

Both lawyers asked the judge to leave the defendants without a conviction, saying a conviction could affect their jobs.

The case was adjourned to a later date.


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