A Co Antrim man who started taking drugs aged 12 has been jailed after he admitted supplying MDMA to friends.
Conor Tumelty (20), from Bawnmore Drive in Newtownabbey, was handed an 18-month sentence, with half to be served behind bars. Judge Neil Rafferty QC said that while he was reluctant to impose a jail term, it was "necessary" and should act as a deterrent.
Crown prosecutor Gareth Purvis had told Belfast Crown Court that police stopped a Renault Clio on Blacks Road in Belfast in the early hours of December 19, 2018 due to a defective rear light.
The car was stopped, and after suspicions were roused, the vehicle was searched and a total of 57gms of MDMA were located in block crystal form.
Mr Purvis said that when Tumelty's phone was seized and analysed, there were "text messages sent and received which indicated dealing cannabis, due to the language used." Mr Purvis said the defendant admitted becoming involved in taking drugs, which escalated and resulted in debts which he then tried to pay by dealing to others.
Defence barrister Sean Devine revealed his client started taking drugs aged 12 and soon "succumbed" to an addiction which became "overpowering."
Judge Rafferty spoke of a list of eight names on a dealer's list and said the supply seemed to be limited to "a circle of friends, associates or people that he knew."
He also spoke of his reluctance to jail Tumelty but said "drugs, particularly Class A drugs, are a very serious blight on our society".