A DAD-of-three, who was described by gardaí as a member of an organised drugs and crime gang in the Bandon area, pleaded guilty to the possession of cocaine for the purpose of sale and supply, at Bandon District Court this week.
David McSweeney, (36), with an address at Apartment 2, 17/18 Oliver Plunkett Street, Bandon was arrested by gardaí following a search of the premises on Thursday February 13th last.
Det Gda Andrew Manning told the court that during the search, led by officers from the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), they discovered a small quantity of cocaine, a weighing scales consistent with drug use, 100 empty deal bags, over €4,000 in cash and three mobile phones.
Det Manning said that they believed that the accused was an associate of another leading drug dealer in West Cork, who had, between August 2018 and February 2020, established himself as a significant drug dealer in the Bandon area and who is also before the courts at this time. Det Manning said they also believe that David McSweeney supplied drugs to this accused man and that, from mobile phone evidence, he owed David McSweeney €19,000 at one point for drugs. However, Judge James McNulty said that he was only concerned with the charges presently before the court and not what gardaí believed concerning any membership of a criminal gang.
When cross-examined by the accused’s solicitor Ray Hennessy, and asked how the gardaí could prove that his client was a member of any crime gang, or that he was connected to this other individual, Det Gda Manning said that there was evidence of texts between the two men and that during his interview after his arrest, Mr McSweeney was inconsistent when asked if he knew the other individual. Judge McNulty said again he was only interested in the charges before the court – possession of cocaine for sale and supply.
Judge McNulty also heard that David McSweeney had no previous convictions for drug-related crime.
Mr Hennessy told the court that his client was a plasterer by trade, and that he had a partner and three children. He added that the money found in the apartment was for plastering work and a reference from the accused’s employer was handed to the judge.
Mr Hennessy said that there was very little evidence to support Det Manning’s assumption that his client was a member of an organised criminal gang.
Once again Judge McNulty said that the court was only interested in the charges before the court.
Convicting Mr McSweeney, Judge McNulty said that the court was satisfied that the accused has an involvement in cocaine dealing locally, and sentenced him to 10 months in prison, with a bond of €100 should he wish to appeal the sentence.
On the separate charge of possession of cocaine, Judge McNulty convicted him and fined him €1,000, giving him 30 days to pay the fine.