‘Courier’ caught with £130,000 worth of drugs

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A ‘courier’ who was found with £130,000 worth of drugs has been jailed for two years and eight months.

Richard Callaghan, of Rathmore Crescent, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of cocaine and cannabis on June 13, last year.

Derry Crown Court heard the 42-year-old was arrested after a police operation in the Beechwood Crescent area of the city.

Callaghan was driving an Audi A4 which was approached by another man.

They both went to the rear of the car and Callaghan began removing packages from the car.

The packages were placed inside a wheelie bin.

Police approached the men. One of them ran off and Callaghan was arrested.

The court was told that five kilograms of cannabis was found in five separate packages and half a kilo of cocaine was also discovered.

A prosecutor said these drugs had a street value of £130,000, however this figure was disputed by the defence.

Callaghan was interviewed three times before he admitted he was asked to ‘do a run’ to Armagh.

He said he was told to pick a car from the internet and this would be bought for him.

The 42-year-old was then instructed to go to a petrol station and leave the car for ten minutes before driving it back to Derry.

Defence counsel Seamus McNeill said they believed the street value of the drugs would be in the region of £60,000.

However, he accepted it was a ‘substantial quantity’ of herbal cannabis.

The barrister told the court Callaghan was a hard working ‘industrious man’ whose life ‘turned sour’ after he found himself unemployed.

He said the 42-year-old has sought help for his issues whilst in custody.

Jailing Callaghan, Judge Philip Babington said Callaghan ‘knew exactly what he was doing’ on this occasion and was an ‘active courier’.

He told the court the 42-year-old got involved in this ‘crazy escapade’ in an ‘effort to clear his debts.

The judge added: ‘A courier is an essential part of any drugs operation. It is quite clear this was a drugs organisation and he was acting as an essential part of that. Couriers must be deterred’.

Callaghan received a determinate sentence of two years and eight months, half of which will be spent in custody and half on licence.

Judge Babington also ordered that the proceeds from the sale of Callaghan’s car be donated to Hurt and North West Counselling.