‘Naive’ Former Soldier Jailed For Holding Drugs To Pay Off Son’s Drug Debt

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A former soldier has been jailed for 18 months after being caught with more than €70,000 worth of cocaine under the driver seat of his car.

60-year-old John McElroy, of Oakwood Park, Finglas, Dublin, agreed to hold the drugs to help pay off his son’s drug debt.

Judge Melanie Greally accepted that what John McElroy did was done out of a mixture of “fear and desperation”.

When the army veteran was stopped on January 25th 2019, gardaí, who were acting on a tip-off, found just over a kilo of cocaine in his car.

He had accepted the package an hour beforehand and gardaí believed him when he told them he only did it as a means to help pay off €200 of son’s €50,000 drug debt.

They also believed that it was a one-off incident, but Judge Greally wondered about that, given the small amount that would have been knocked off the debt.

His barrister said that was a measure of his client’s naivety.

McElroy served in the Irish Defence Forces between 1976 and 1991. During that time, he carried out two tours of duty in Lebanon.

A custodial sentence was unavoidable due to the value of the cocaine, but Judge Greally suspended the final two years of a three and a half year prison sentence.