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Firefighters accused of having cocaine worth €80,000

Two Tipperary firemen, who have gone on trial accused of having cocaine worth almost €80,000 for sale or supply, are facing a minimum ten-years in jail if they are convicted.

Michael Morgan, 43, of Cluain Muillean, Nenagh, and John Walsh, 36, of Coille Bheithe, Nenagh, appeared before Nenagh Circuit Court today, the second day of their trial.

Cocaine was found in Mr Morgan’s work locker during a routine inspection at the fire station, on 17 January 2018, the court heard.

Several past and present members of Nenagh fire service gave evidence of seeing a white powder substance in a green plastic lunchbox after the box was removed from Mr Morgan’s work locker.

Gardaí were alerted and the two accused men were later arrested and charged in connection with the seizure of cocaine worth an estimated €78,000.

They are both each charged with one count of possessing cocaine worth over €13,000, which carries a minimum mandatory 10 year jail term, except in exceptional and specific circumstances.

They are also each charged with one count of possession of cocaine for sale or supply, and with one count of simple possession of cocaine.

The jury, of seven men and five women, heard that a number of people would have had access to the firefighters work locker area, and that the lockers would routinely be left open to allow firefighters quick access to equipment when responding to emergency calls.

A senior firefighter told the court it would have been relatively easy for contraband to be placed in firefighters’ work lockers at the station.

This, the court heard, was due to the lockers being left open or having keys left in the locks.

Garda Andrew O’Loughlin, Nenagh Garda Station, said he responded to Nenagh Fire Station on the evening in question and was shown a box containing a white rocky/powdery substance in plastic wrappings that had allegedly been discovered in Mr Morgan’s work locker.

Garda O’Loughlin said the white substance “looked like it was divided up into equal quantities in equal weight”.

Gardaí also searched Mr Morgan’s home and his personal locker at his workplace but nothing suspicious was found in either search.

A forensic analysis of the contents of the lunchbox allegedly found in his work locker confirmed it was cocaine.

The trial continues tomorrow.

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