Gangster Brian Rattigan accused of being behind €1m heroin deal from his cell
GANG boss Brian Rattigan was the "directing force" behind a €1m heroin deal from his cell in Portlaoise Prison, the Special Criminal Court has heard.
Rattigan (31), with a last address at Cooley Road, Drimnagh, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to the possession of heroin and two counts of possession of the drug for sale or supply on Hughes Road South, Walkinstown, Dublin, on May 21, 2008.
He has also pleaded not guilty to the possession of two mobile phones at Portlaoise Prison while he was an inmate there on May 22, 2008.
Rattigan is serving a life sentence for the murder of Declan Gavin, who was stabbed to death in August 2001.
Opening the prosecution case, John O'Kelly told the court that gardai who raided a house on Hughes Road discovered heroin valued at over €1m in a shed at the back of the property.
He said gardai also discovered a red and white Nokia phone alongside an electronic weighing scale in the shed, while a search of a bedroom inside the house yielded just over €36,000 in cash.
Mr O'Kelly said a text message on the Nokia phone appeared to relate to the division of a large quantity of heroin and that the message came from a phone number associated with Brian Rattigan.
He said gardai who went to search the accused's cell in Portlaoise Prison found him lying on his bed with a mobile phone in his hand and that Rattigan threw this phone out of his cell when confronted by gardai.
Mr O'Kelly continued that the court would see CCTV footage of the mobile phone being thrown on to the prison landing and that gardai would give evidence of two SIM cards being attached to this phone, as well as the discovery of an additional mobile phone, another SIM card and notebooks inside the accused man's cell.
There would be evidence, he said, that a text message sent from a number attached to one of the phones to another phone found on a man arrested at the house on Hughes Road read: "That dark is there."
The court would hear, he continued, that "dark" was slang for "heroin" and that the message was from Brian Rattigan to the other man, informing him that a consignment of drugs had arrived at the house.
He said that an incoming message to a number attached to one of the phones found in Portlaoise read: "Can you give me half a box of the bad thing for 13 I am waiting on a few bob I could sort you out."
The prosecution will contend that this was a request for half-a-kilo of heroin in return for €13,000.
Mr O'Kelly said it was the belief of gardai that a message to "drop €30 to Parrot", sent to a contact called "Lips", was addressed to Brian Rattigan's partner while 'Parrot' was the nickname of the owner of the house on Hughes Road.
He said the court would hear that "€30" was thought to refer to €30,000 and that €30,000 was found by gardai at the base of a bed in the house on Hughes Road. Mr O'Kelly said that a further message to "Lips" read: "Get rid of your phones quick."
Mr O'Kelly said the only reasonable inference was that Brian Rattigan was the driving force behind this drugs transaction, acting by means of telephonic communication.
The trial, which is expected to last three weeks, continues.