Wednesday 19 December 2018

Irishman wanted in Spain for charge related to drugs trafficking

Spanish authorities are seeking the surrender of an Irishman for a drugs trafficking charge (Stock photo)
Spanish authorities are seeking the surrender of an Irishman for a drugs trafficking charge (Stock photo)

Ruaidhrí Giblin

Spanish authorities are seeking the surrender of an Irishman for a drugs trafficking charge related to the recovery of 148 kilograms of cannabis resin.

Patrick Joseph Mangan, (51) with an address at Valeview Drive in Finglas, is wanted for prosecution on a single drugs charge allegedly committed in Spain on November 29, 2010.

A European Arrest Warrant issued in respect of Mr Mangan states that his surrender is sought for alleged participation in an organisation “dealing with drugs trafficking”.

The warrant states that a British organisation purchased “large amounts of drug[s]” from the city of Melilla, obtained by paying a group composed of Spanish individuals. The narcotic drugs were “controlled” in Melilla on November 29, 2010 and that “only” 148 kilograms of “hashish” or cannabis resin was recovered.

Mr Mangan's extradition to Spain was ordered by the High Court in March. He appealed the High Court order to the three-judge Court of Appeal where judgment was reserved today.

The High Court heard that Spanish authorities “monitored by judicial order” or tapped the telephone of another named individual with whom a telephone registered to Mr Mangan had contact.

In the High Court, Ms Justice Donnelly said the crux of Mr Mangan's objection to being surrendered was the claim that, because he was in Ireland using his Irish registered telephone at the time these calls were intercepted, there had been an unlawful interference with his right to privacy.

His lawyers submitted that the Spanish authorities had not shown that they had authority to intercept a call in this jurisdiction and that the Minister had not given any authority to intercept a call in this jurisdiction.

Ms Justice Donnelly said the court rejected all points of objection to surrender and that the requirements for extradition were satisfied.

Appealing the order for surrender today, Mr Mangan's barrister, Dr Michael Forde SC, submitted that his client's constitutional right to privacy would be breached if the Spanish authorities used “the fruits” of a telephone tap of an Irish citizen speaking on a phone in Ireland.

Dr Forde accepted that the other person's phone was tapped under appropriate authority. However, given that Mr Mangan was an Irish citizen speaking in Ireland, foreign authorities are prohibited from using the fruits of the tap, Dr Forde submitted.

Reserving judgment in the three-judge Court of Appeal, Mr Justice George Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Alan Mahon and Mr Justice John Edwards, remanded Mr Mangan on continuing bail to December 11, when judgment is expected to be delivered.

In the High Court, Ms Justice Donnelly said the reference to telephone tapping was further explained by the Spanish authorities in a letter dated September 2016. 

It alleged that: “During the process of investigation that took place on different organizations involved in drug trafficking, it was found out through the telephone intervention works that took place by a judicial order that a group of people related to a lieutenant of the Spanish Military Police (Guardia Civil) were trying to perform a drug trafficking operation (hashish).”

“The criminal organization got the drug that came from Morocco and, for a price, it was delivered to another organization in Spain comprised of British and Irish people, being there chief Patrick Joseph Mangan, the person that paid for the drug.”

“The representative of the group in Costa del Sol was identified” as another named individual, according to the letter received from Spanish authorities, “who received orders from Patrick Joseph Mangan, as well as the money to buy the drug.”

“When they both spoke by telephone and spoke about “Big Fella” they might be referring to” a second named individual, who was “another defendant in the proceeding that belongs to another organized group in charge of getting the drug from Morocco,” according to the letter received from Spanish authorities.

“Since that person also had his telephone intervened it has been possible to find out about the conversations he used to have” with the first named individual “and, therefore, the connection of Patrick Joseph Mangan with the facts under investigation.”

“In order to clarify the kind of participation that Patrick Joseph Mangan, alias “the general” and alias “the old”, has in the facts, a file is attached with the original conversations that have been monitored by a judicial order,” the letter from the Spanish authorities alleged.

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