Dad jailed for supplying cocaine to work colleagues
A father of three described in court as a dugs "facilitator" has been jailed for eight months.
Darren Richmond (43), from Whitehouse Gardens in Newtownabbey, was handed the prison sentence after admitting involvement in the supply of Class A and Class B drugs.
Belfast Crown Court heard Richmond's offending emerged after he came to police attention because of an unrelated matter, and that he was caught because of text message on his phone.
When an investigation was launched, it came to light that Richmond had been facilitating the supply of cocaine and cannabis to work colleagues.
He started doing this after a relative of his who had been supplying drugs left the company and he became the "middle man".
Crown prosecutor Robin Steer told Judge David McFarland that Richmond's home was searched in March 2013 after incriminating text messages between him and another man were located on the other man's mobile in an unrelated investigation.
The nature of the texts, which included references to 'white' and 'brown', prompted the search at Richmond's home.
No drugs were found during the hunt, but the defendant's phone was seized and examined, and in December 2013 he was arrested on drugs offences.
Prosecutor Mr Steer described Richmond as "essentially a street dealer who supplied cocaine and cannabis to friends on behalf of another person... the dealer who supplied him."
Mr Steer told how, in one of the text messages, the dealer told Richmond that he would be paid £5 for every gram of cocaine he managed to sell, although the Crown accepted that Richmond "was not making a profit".
Defence barrister Paul Bacon explained that Richmond found himself concerned in supplying drugs after a relative of his who he used to work with, and who used to supply colleagues with drugs, left the workplace.
After the relative had gone, the workmates asked Richmond to get them drugs, and he "facilitated" this for a period of around five months.
Acknowledging that his client "could have walked away", Mr Bacon said that at the time Richmond was a cannabis user who was being supplied with the drug for his own personal use in return for acting as the facilitator.
Mr Bacon also told the court that "it would be an understatement to say he (his client) had compromised his family life by this utter stupidity", adding the only drug Richmond now took was prescribed medication.
Judge McFarland branded drug-dealing a "serious matter" and handed Richmond the eight-month sentence.