Thursday 19 September 2019

Kinahan cartel bagman jailed after being caught with €169k in cash

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Declan Brennan and Robin Schiller

One of the Kinahan cartel’s main bagmen has been jailed for four and a half years after being caught with €169,000 in cash.

David Dowling (49) was today jailed after he pleaded guilty last July to two charges of engaging in the business of handling the proceeds of crime at Westend Retail Business Park, Blanchardstown and at Sorrell Heath on September 26, 2015.

It has been revealed that Dowling has been a long-term target of the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) and is believed to have been one of the Kinahan cartel’s main bagmen.

A senior source last night said that Dowling, of Sorrell Heath, Clonsilla, was a trusted associate of the international crime gang and was tasked with organising their proceeds of crime and laundering it.

“Dowling would have collected the money from Dublin and across the country which was made from the cartel’s drug business.

“It is a great capture for gardai. This money is the product of drugs being imported, distributed, sold and people being threatened to pay up.

“The cash is the result of all that and these seizures hurt them the hardest,” the source said.

Today, Judge Martin Nolan said that Dowling was an “essential cog in a drug dealing enterprise”.

“David Dowling was helping these parties. There is no point in having money if you can’t move it where you want to move it,” he said.

Dowling has 17 previous convictions, dating from the ‘80s and ‘90s. Judge Nolan said these were old convictions and he was not taking them into consideration for his sentence.

Detective Garda Paul Kane told the court that in September 2015, gardai set up a surveillance operation after receiving confidential information about the laundering of substantial sums of money by a criminal organisation.

They stopped Dowling in a van after he was seen picking up a package from a car during a meeting in a car park in Westend retail park. The package contained €69,610 in cash.

During a follow up search of Dowling’s family home in Clonsilla, gardai seized a further €99,020 and a vacuum packing machine. Some of the cash was found wrapped up in a towel in a sports bag.

Judge Nolan said that references handed into the court described Dowling as a “good family man and a good community man”.

“Unfortunately he involved himself in a very serious scheme, handling profits from drug dealing,” the judge said.

Asked by Judge Nolan where the money came from, the detective said: “It’s drugs money”. He told the court he knew this because of intelligence obtained from confidential sources.

Gda Kane said Dowling was “a cog in the wheel” and would bring the cash home, count it and package it before moving it onwards.

The court heard that gardai observed Dowling travelling to the Westend retail park in a van. He got out of a van and walked over to the front passenger door of the car and took a rectangular shaped package.

Gardai stopped the two vehicles and found the cash on Dowling. They arrested Dowling and the driver of the other car, who was also later charged. Officers  then obtained a search warrant for Dowling’s home and went to the house. When they got there, a juvenile male answered the door and shouted upstairs to his mother that there were gardai in the house.

The gardai went upstairs and saw a woman going into a bedroom where she threw some clothes into a sports bag. She picked up the bag and told them she was taking her children to the swimming pool.

Gardai told her to put the bag down. On searching the bag they found €6,000 concealed in a towel in the bag. Another €85,020 was found behind a curtain in the house, bringing the total seized in the house to €99,020.

During the search of the house, gardai also found a machine used to vacuum pack cash. Detective Kane said this condenses the cash and also stops sniffer dogs from detecting it.

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