A mother of five who stored nearly €150,000 worth of heroin and cocaine in her home after coming under “considerable pressure” has received a suspended prison sentence.
Michelle Geoghegan was handed a five-year suspended sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, after a judge ruled that a non-custodial penalty was justified.
Judge Melanie Greally said that at the time of the offence, Geoghegan had been at a particularly low ebb and suffering from acute depression.
She said Geoghegan had been identified by certain people as being vulnerable and was subjected to “considerable pressure” and “persistent requests” to allow drugs to be stored, prepared and packaged in her home.
Geoghegan, of Rathgael, Deansrath, Clondalkin, Dublin pleaded guilty to possession for sale or supply of the drugs at her home on February 27 last year.
Justin McQuade BL, defending, told the court that Geoghegan was a former heroin addict and that people with criminal intentions put pressure on her to use her home.
He said she resisted for a while but finally gave in. She had no financial interest in the drugs and was paid “a pittance of €150” a couple of times.
An investigating garda agreed with counsel that Geoghegan was in fear.
In February of last year gardaí acting on confidential information searched her home and found over €145,000 worth of heroin in a Supervalu bag in a locked safe in a bedroom. They also found cocaine with an estimated value of €3,548 in a Centra bag.
The total estimated street value of the drugs was €149,484. Investigators also found zip lock bags behind a kick board and a blender suspected to be used to mix drugs.
Judge Greally set a headline sentence of seven and a half years’ imprisonment but gave Geoghegan credit for her very early guilty plea, her difficult childhood and her “longstanding and entrenched” drug addiction.
She gave further credit to Geoghegan for her efforts to address her addiction, noting that the offence had triggered very positive changes in her life and that she appeared to have “turned a corner”.
A psychological report submitted by the defence highlighted Geoghegan’s cognitive limitations and poor judgment, noting that she was susceptible to the pressure that was put on her.