Longford father and son avoid jail after undercover garda operation

A father and son from Longford town have been handed suspended prison sentences after being caught selling drugs to undercover Gardai.

56-year-old Martin Stokes and his 34 year old son Michael, both of Palace Crescent, Longford, pleaded guilty to possession and sale and supply offences which occurred in Longford town in July and August 2017.

A sentence hearing for both men this week heard details of a Garda “test purchase operation” targeting drug dealing in Longford town over two years ago.

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The court heard that Martin Stokes had provided a €50 bag of cannabis to an undercover Garda in late July 2017, and his son had provided a €30 bag of cannabis to another undercover Garda in August among other offences.

A Garda Sgt described both men as ‘street dealers’ for an organised crime group who were supplying a large quantity of controlled drugs to the Longford area.

Handing down sentence today, Judge Karen Fergus said the offences by the father and son were at the lower end of the scale and that the low value of the drugs involved was a mitigating factor for both men.

She handed down an 18 month prison sentence to Martin Stokes, suspended for five years after he agreed to a €500 bond to keep the peace and to engage with the probation service for a period of 18 months.

He was also told to refrain from drugs and alcohol and to make himself available for urine analysis.

Michael Stokes was handed a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for four years after entering into a bond of good behaviour for four years and payment of €500.

Judge Fergus also ordered him to engage with the probation service for a period of 12 months and to enrol in a training or education course and to abstain from alcohol and drugs and also be available for any urine analysis required.