| 17.6°C Dublin

Businessman who smuggled drugs is jailed

HE came from a well respected family, set up home beside his parents, built up a healthy business and was the father of three daughters.

When not working as an agricultural or heavy plant contractor, Shane Mangan (50) from Crecora, Co Limerick, was well-known around the country's rallying circuits.

However, he is this weekend contemplating six years in jail for importing drugs to pay off large debts he accumulated after the recession struck.

Mangan appeared in Limerick Circuit Criminal Court yesterday before Judge Carroll Moran after he was caught with cannabis worth €300,000 for sale or supply in a white transit van at Ballyclough, Co Limerick, on November 7 last.

When stopped by gardai, he was towing a rally car on a trailer as a cover for the drugs and had a false driving licence.

The 25 packets of cannabis was found hidden in panels in the van.

Prior to his arrest, he had made four separate trips from Holland to Limerick between March and September 2010 and imported 83kg of cannabis -- worth an estimated €996,000 -- into the country.

While drug trafficking the cannabis across Europe, he was disqualified from driving for drink-driving offences.

Sentencing Mangan, Judge Moran acknowledged that "he was a victim of the construction bubble", but had contributed to his own downfall.

Mangan came from a well-known farming background and his elderly parents, John and Rita, were described as "decent and honourable people".

At the time of his arrest, he owed around €360,000.

Judge Moran accepted that Mangan was not the owner of the drugs nor was he at the highest level.

However, the judge added that he was caught with a very sizeable amount of drugs and was doing it for his own financial gain.

The six-year jail term was backdated to the time of his arrest last November.

Irish Independent