independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Businessman jailed for 13 years for possession of €1.9m worth of drugs

Alan Boggans

A DUBLIN car-dealer has been jailed for 13 years for possessing over €1.9 million worth of cannabis resin after judge said he was the operator in charge of the entire consignment.

Alan Boggans (38) of Keelogue House, Peamount Road, Newcastle, had pleaded not guilty to possessing the drugs for sale or supply at Celtic Truck Wash , College Road, Greenogue Business Park, Rathcoole on September 1, 2009.

Judge Patrick McCartan praised the “very professional and skilful” intelligence and surveillance work done by gardaí in chasing down those involved, and said the case against Boggans was overwhelming.

The judge said Boggans was the operator in charge of the entire consignment, and that it was not often that someone in his position came before the court.

“Invariably it is the man further down the ladder; the driver, the courier, the mule. The court has to send out a very definite message to others involved in drugs in this way that they can expect no mercy,” said Judge McCartan.

Detective Inspector Robert Smith told Colm O’Briain BL, prosecuting, "I was fully aware of roles of all parties. Boggans made arrangements for collection of drugs, there were phone contacts between Boggans and co-accused Stephen Grants' phones. No action was going to be taken until Boggans arrived".

Judge McCartan said Boggans, a married father-of-two and car dealer, had been found by gardaí on the premises standing at the rear of a van with its doors open revealing the stash of drugs.

He said Boggans' fingerprints on the van suggested he had been inside, and that two phones picked up at the scene showed considerable traffic between him and two others involved in moving the drugs.

Judge McCartan said the accused had later skilfully attempted to suggest to gardaí that he was innocently on the premises to view potential car purchases as he was a car dealer.

The judge said Boggans had a very significant work record and that up to the date of his arrest he was actively working in car-dealership selling two or three cars a week.

He sentenced Boggans to 13 years in prison dating from 26th June 2013, when he was convicted following a six-day trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The court heard that Boggans' brother-in-law and co-accused Stephen Grant (40) of Neilstown Avenue, Clondalkin, was jailed for eight years in May 2011 for possession of drugs for sale or supply.

Grant, who was a courier of the drugs, had pleaded guilty and is currently appealing the length of the sentence.

Another co-accused, Bernard Fitzsimons (32) of Glenshane Grove, Tallaght, was jailed for six years in 2010 after he pleaded guilty to possession of the cannabis for sale or supply and also to possession of €18,000 worth of cocaine for sale or supply at his home.

During the trial, Conor Devally SC, prosecuting, told the jury that gardaí had mounted a surveillance operation on the business park on September 1, 2009, and had spotted a Mercedes van, a BMW car and a taxi going into Celtic Truck Wash and Parking.

Mr Devally (with Mr O’ Briain) said gardaí secured a warrant and raided the premises, spotting Boggans at the rear of the van with the driver, Stephen Grant.

The men fled but were caught and arrested, Boggans having been found crouching among several re-possessed vehicles.

Gardaí discovered 330 kilogrammes of cannabis resin, worth €1,976,244, in balls and nine-ounce bars in the back of the van.

A number of mobile phones were also found at the scene and later analysed.

Det Insp Smith said Boggans fingerprints were found on the van and that his DNA was also found on a mobile phone discovered on the back of a truck.

Boggans was arrested following a short chase and denied any knowledge of the drugs, repeatedly telling gardaí in interview; “I know nothing about any drugs”.

When asked by gardaí why he ran off when gardaí raided the site, Boggans replied “I ran in fright. It was just an instinct.”

He told gardaí he was in the business park that day to look at ten repossessed cars in the hope of submitting a tender to the bank in order to buy them.

There was evidence that Boggans had been at Greenogue a number of times to view these vehicles.

The court heard that Boggans has a number of previous convictions including 17 road traffic offences, (including drunk driving) and public order offences.

Det Insp Smith confirmed that when Boggans' house was searched, gardaí said it was “particularly well-furnished, an extremely nice home”, and that there was no evidence of financial necessity which may have driven him to becoming involved in the drugs trade.

Peter Finlay SC (with Kieran Kelly BL) defending, said his client had suffered from serious depression and was taking medication.

He cited testimonials and reports from business and sporting backgrounds in the Clondalkin area praising Boggans' contributions to the parish.

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