Limerick farmer working for drugs gang jailed after large drugs and cash haul

Charlie Magill, was sentenced at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court to six years with the final 18 months suspended. Photo: Brendan Gleeson

A FARMER farmer who pleaded guilty to possessing over half a million euro worth of cocaine, heroin, and tablets was jailed for six years with the final 18 months suspended.

Charles Magill (61), with addresses at his family farm at Knockainey, County Limerick, and at Rivers, Lisnagry, County Limerick, told Gardaí he was delivering drugs for unnamed criminals in order to pay off a drug debt his former partner accrued.

Mr Magill and convicted Limerick drug dealer Vincent Collopy were arrested during a Garda operation which resulted in the seizure of €1.4million worth of cocaine, heroin, and tablets, on May 29, 2022.

Mr Magill admitted 16 charges, including two counts of possessing almost €600,000 worth of drugs for sale or supply, as well as having €49,000 in cash, contrary to money laundering legislation.

Judge Tom O’Donnell heard that Gardaí observed Mr Magill deliver a drugs package to Corbally, County Clare, before a vehicle arrived to retrieve the package.

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When Gardaí pursued the vehicle, they observed one of the occupants throwing the package from the car.

Vincent Collopy (44), St Ita’s Street, St Mary’s Park, Limerick, who Gardaí told an earlier hearing had thrown the package out of the car, was jailed for six years with the final 18 months suspended in January 2023 after he pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine worth around €10,000 for sale or supply.

In follow-up searches of Mr Magill’s house in Lisnagry and his family farm in Knockainey, Gardaí recovered €385,000 worth of cocaine, €130,000 worth of heroin, €81,000 worth of tablets, and the €49,000 cash sum.

Mr Magill told Gardaí he was coerced by others who the judge said were involved in the organised sale and distribution of drugs in Limerick City.

The judge said Mr Magill told Gardaí he was holding the drugs “to reduce a drugs debt which in the main belonged to his partner”.

The judge said Mr Magill was “given instructions of where to go to make deliveries, but he was afraid to identify those involved”, adding that Mr Magill was seen by the drug gang as a “highly trusted person”.

He said Mr Magill had “no trappings of wealth”, was of “material assistance” to Gardaí, and entered an early guilty plea which prevented the requirement of a lengthy trial.

Judge O’Donnell said that while Mr Magill had a “deep involvement” and “might be described as a second-tier manager in the operation”, he was satisfied that his involvement did not merit a prescriptive mandatory minimum 10-year jail sentence in respect of the sale or supply charges.

He said he took into consideration that Mr Magill had no previous convictions and he was likely coerced by others.

He jailed Mr Magill for six years with the final 18 months suspended on one count of possessing the drugs for sale or supply, followed by concurrent sentences of four and half years for the second count of possessing the drugs for sale or supply; four years for possessing €49,000 in cash deemed to be the proceeds of crime; and four years for possession of drug paraphernalia.

The remaining offences were taking into consideration by the court.

Mr Magill agreed to enter a €100 non-lodgement bond to be of good behaviour and keep the peace for six years upon his release from jail.