Saturday 22 July 2017

Dublin men had €17k confiscated as they prepared to travel one-way to Malaga

Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport
Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport

Declan Brennan

Four Dublin men allegedly linked to the drugs trade have had thousands in cash confiscated from them at Dublin Airport.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that a total of €17,600 was found on the four men as they prepared to travel to Malaga, Spain on one-way tickets.

Customs and Excise officials were screening outbound passengers and stopped the men in February 2016. The officials seized the cash after hearing contradictory explanations about its use.

Kieran Kelly BL, for the State, told Judge Karen O'Connor that it was the State's case that the cash seized represented the proceeds of crime or was intended for use in criminal conduct.

Judge Karen O'Connor granted an order for the forfeiture of the cash under section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1994. The Act states that a judge may order the forfeiture of cash seized if satisfied that the cash directly or indirectly represents the proceeds of crime or is intended by any person for use in connection with any criminal conduct.

Mr Kelly told the court that when stopped with €12,000 cash, Gerard Claxton Jnr of Whitestown Walk, Blanchardstown, Dublin told customs officials it was to buy an apartment in Malaga. He said €6,000 belonged to his father Gerard Claxton Snr, of Whitestown Drive, Blanchardstown.

He later told officials that he operated a gym and had started a business in second hand cars and the money came from these legitimate sources. He said there was no documentary evidence because the money was accumulated in cash.

Claxton Snr was also travelling and stopped by customs officials. He said he had around €8,000 in cash on him and said the cash was to be used to furnish a Spanish apartment they had already bought.

The court heard there were gaps in the employment and tax records of the two men.

Claxton Jnr has previous convictions for possession of firearms and attempted robbery and in 2007 he received a partially suspended eight year prison sentence.

His father has a previous conviction for burglary from 1987.

Lee Boylan of Fortlawn Ave, Clonsilla, Dublin had €2,500 in cash on him and said it was to spend on his holidays. He said he was unemployed.

Michael Jones of Whitestown Drive, Blanchardstown had €1,500 cash with him and told officials he was self-employed.

Officials deemed the cash to have been pooled by the four men.

Later investigations found that gardaí criminal intelligence linked the four men together and to the drugs trade in west Dublin, the court heard. Neither Mr Boylan or Mr Jones have any criminal convictions, Mr Kelly said.

Mr Kelly said that the movement of cash in this manner was consistent with criminal activity. He said the four men were aware of the State's application and had declined to take part in the proceedings.

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