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22/09/2021

'It is chilling that there are people like you willing to destroy peoples' lives' - Two Derry men jailed for possessing cocaine worth between £60,000 and £200,000

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Two Derry men have been jailed for possessing cocaine worth between £60,000 and £200,000, at the city’s Crown Court. Ethan McDonnell, 30, from Durrow Park in the Bogside area of the city, and co-defendant Emmet McIntyre, 27, from Kular Court, admitted possessing and possessing with intent to supply just over 830 grams of cocaine with a purity of fourteen percent. McDonnell took responsibility for the cocaine and was jailed for two years and eight months, while McIntyre who was keeping the cocaine overnight in his home for McDonnell, was given a twelve-month sentence, suspended for three years. McDonnell will serve half of his sentence in prison and half on licence. The court heard cocaine was found after police officers stopped a car being driven by McDonnell in Rossville Street on the night of December 11, 2016. His co-accused was a front seat passenger in the car. Police noticed a strong smell of cannabis coming from inside the car and both men were arrested. Other items found included a number of deal bags, weighing scales and £700. When McIntyre was searched the police found a small quantity of cocaine in his shirt pocket. Follow-up searches were carried out at the houses of both men and inside McIntyre’s home police found seven deal bags containing just over 830 grams of cocaine. At McDonnell's home police officers found a small quantity of cocaine and £4,500 in cash. After the arrests McDonnell took full responsibility for the cocaine found in McIntyre's flat. Representing McIntyre, defence barrister Sean Doherty, told Crown Court Judge Philip Babington that his client made a ‘monumental error of judgement’ by agreeing to keep the cocaine overnight in his flat for McDonnell. Defence counsel said that following the discovery of the cocaine McIntyre had to move address after threats were made against him by criminal elements. Mr Doherty added that McIntyre was at the bottom of the spectrum regarding culpability. McDonnell's barrister Stephen Chapman said his client’s offending was motivated by financial gain and he had been selling drugs to users for about twelve months before he was caught. The court was told that McDonnell began abusing drugs at the age of thirteen and that the cocaine he admitted possessing with intent to supply was the largest batch of the drug he'd ever received. Judge Babington said the fact that the cocaine had a purity level of fourteen percent indicated that it was ready for distribution. He said he accepted the police view that McIntyre's involvement was to keep the drugs overnight in his flat for McDonnell and he told McIntyre that he was extremely lucky not to be going to jail. Judge Babington told McDonnell, who had twenty-one previous convictions, that offending in such a way he was quite prepared to cause misery to others. "It is chilling that there are people in this city who, like you, are willing to destroy peoples' lives by supplying them with cocaine", he said.

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