A COUPLE living in Shannon have been given seven-year sentences after being caught in Dublin handing over cash they brought from Limerick to exchange for heroin with a street value of almost € 50,000.
The couple got lost in Finglas as they headed back to Limerick with the drugs before gardaí pulled them over. They told gardaí they were in ﬁnancial difﬁculties and were to get € 500 from criminals for the drugs run.
Ross Buckley (22) and Barbara Campion (23), both with an address at Delacey Park, Shannon, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Court to possession of the heroin for sale or supply at North Road, Finglas, on August 4, 2009.
After the couple were arrested they each attempted to take responsibility for the offence and absolve the other. Their co-accused, Gerard Ledwidge (26) of Cappagh Road, Finglas, also pleaded guilty to having heroin for sale or supply on the same date and was also given a seven year sentence.
Judge Katherine Delahunt commented it was a difﬁcult case involving the parents of young children but said she was satisﬁed they were all fully aware of what they were doing and had engaged in it willingly. She suspended the ﬁnal two years of each sentence.
Gardaí, on foot of certain information, observed a car driven by Buckley with Campion as a passenger, being driven up Cabra Road before stopping at the junction of Ratoath Road.
Two males approached the car, one of which was later found to be Ledwidge, and the window was rolled down.
Ledwidge handed in a small package and Campion handed out a bag. The car left the area and was followed by gardaí. Ledwidge was arrested in a nearby house shortly afterwards.
Gardaí following Buckley and Campion, activated their sirens and pulled the car over on North Road. They found a bag in the glove compartment which contained heroin with a street value of € 48,060.
Campion told gardaí she had come from Limerick with € 8,000 in cash and guessed she had to collect heroin. She and Buckley were to get € 500.
She said they had been asked to go to Dublin and had been given a phone number to ring to ﬁnd out the location of the hand over. She said she rang the number and handed over the money to Ledwidge in return for the drugs.
Campion, who worked as a catering assistant, said she did not have a drug problem and would not name the person she was working for.
Buckley initially told gardaí he was committing the offence to clear a drug debt but later admitted he had done the run in return for cash payment. He mentioned at one stage the money was to be used for a holiday to Spain.
He said they were to return to Limerick with the drugs for a drop off but he did not realise the value of the drugs.
Ledwidge has 31 previous convictions while Campion has one conviction and Buckley has ﬁve convictions.
Det Gda Byrne agreed with Ms Grainne O’Neill BL, defending Campion, that the couple’s role was “amateurish in nature” and they had no plan if they were stopped.
Ms O’Neill submitted that Campion had a disruptive childhood but a strong work ethic. She said she had suffered post natal depression and had been in ﬁnancial difﬁculties after returning to work on a part-time basis after her maternity leave.
She said Campion made “a very, very bad decision” which she and her child will have to live with. Det Gda Byrne agreed with Mr James McCullough BL, defending Buckley, that the couple made no attempt to evade gardaí and there was no evidence of high living. He said he was not aware of any threats being made.
Mr McCullough said Buckley, who played soccer at underage and senior level with Shannon Town, was remorseful and that he was a vulnerable man who was quite naive. He said the couple were devoted to their young child who would suffer trauma as a result of her parents going into custody.