A CLARE mechanic, who gardai claim is a “major player” in the wholesale distribution of drugs in Munster, was charged in Limerick District court this week with possession of cocaine, worth almost quarter of a million euro, which had been found by gardai in a car in Limerick.
Anthony Sexton, (39), was arrested last Saturday, by members of the Limerick Divisional Drugs Unit (DDU), supported by the Garda Armed Support Unit (ASU).
Gardai intercepted Mr Sexton driving a dark grey coloured Audi car on the R510, at Raheen, Limerick, and discovered three-and-a-half kilos of cocaine worth an estimated €247,500.
The father of three, with an address at Cahaska, Corofin, appeared before Limerick District Court, charged with four offences, namely: possession of cocaine for sale or supply; possession of cocaine; possession of a flick knife; causing criminal damage to an official garda patrol jeep.
Detective Garda Mark O’Sullivan, Limerick DDU, gave evidence that gardai “conducted an operation targeting drug trafficking offences” last Saturday “and identified Anthony Sexton as a person directly involved”.
Gardai intercepted Mr Sexton driving a dark grey Audi A5 and “activated blue lights and signalled for the vehicle to stop”.
“The vehicle accelerated and attempted to evade gardai by swerving to avoid them, and collided with an official armed response vehicle causing significant damage,” Detective Garda O’Sullivan alleged.
Follow-up searches of Mr Sexton’s home and garage business at Quin Road Industrial Estate, Ennis, uncovered “drug paraphernalia” and a “cocaine press”, gardai alleged.
Detective O’Sullivan objected to bail stating that in his opinion, Mr Sexton would not abide by any bail conditions set down by the court, and would “continue to engage in the wholesale distribution of controlled drugs”.
“Anthony Sexton is a major player in the distribution of controlled substances in the Munster region,” alleged Detective O’Sullivan.
Mr Sexton’s solicitor, Daragh Hassett, said his instructions were that the accused was a long-time cocaine user and had travelled to Limerick last Saturday to pay off part of a debt he owed to others.
“People have to make good their debts otherwise things happen, he was instructed to carry some drugs and was given very little option not to do that,” Mr Hassett said.
Detective O’Sullivan told the court he did not accept this.
Mr Hassett said that Mr Sexton “was told if he didn’t transport some drugs around Limerick at the weekend, that things would happen”.
The accused told the court his garage business had suffered badly due to the pandemic and he “slipped back into cocaine use”.
He said he had been “dodging the debt between Christmas and now, and when I came (to Limerick) to pay it, (other parties) were quite agitated, and I was given no choice”.
Mr Sexton also denied garda claims he was a key player in a major drugs distribution network, telling the court: “I live in a tiny cottage in the middle of the woods, I don’t have fancy cars, fancy clothes, fancy jewellery, fancy holidays; I can barely support myself and my children.”
He said the machine found in his premises, which gardai claimed was being used to press cocaine, was in fact “an apparatus for removing wheel bearings from cars”.
Mr Sexton said he would abide by any bail conditions, adding, “I’ll stay out of Limerick, I’ll move to a different county, I just want to get my life back.”
The accused was remanded in continuing custody to appear before Limerick District Court on February 9, for directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions.
By David Raleigh