Car, cash and rings seized by CAB as Sligo drug gang targeted are declared proceeds of crime

Sligoman didn’t challenge CAB application in the high court to take his car and €5,000 in cash

McMorrow's car was seized.

€50 notes were seized.

Claudia Gethins.

thumbnail: McMorrow's car was seized.
thumbnail: €50 notes were seized.
thumbnail: Claudia Gethins.
Sligo Champion

A stash of drugs cash found hidden in his girlfriend’s underwear has been left unclaimed by the latest member of a Sligo-based drug gang to be targeted by the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Ian McMorrow, described in the High Court as being “actively involved the sale and supply of drugs” in the region, didn’t challenge a CAB bid to have his car and cash declared the proceeds of crime.

Judge Alex Owens said it was “reasonable” to believe the VW Golf, two diamond rings and €5,000 in €50 notes were “funded by the drugs trade.”

McMorrow’s girlfriend Claudia Gethins claimed the rings were an inheritance while the cash was found hidden in her bra, the High Court was told.

The car and property were seized in garda raids in July 2021 targeting the gang. McMorrow’s criminal career and connections with other drug dealers were detailed in affidavits submitted to the court as part of the CAB case.

Garda believe that while fellow Sligoman Patrick Irwin was in prison 2018, Ian McMorrow built up his own gang thanks to his brother Kenneth’s connections with Dublin criminals, according garda evidence detailed in court.

His brother Kenneth is married to a sister of Patrick Irwin, Catherine, a former soldier.

Their wedding in 2018 was attended by a number of high-profile criminals from Sligo, Meath and Dublin, according to one of the affidavits filed by CAB.

Today's News in 90 seconds - May 25th

Details of the CAB investigation into McMorrow emerged this week including how he paid for his 172-reg VW Golf for cash in Northern Ireland.

An Audi he traded in for the Golf had previously been bought for more than €10,000 in Co Meath when he had no legitimate means to acquire that amount of cash.

While two lodgements of €10,000 and €12,000 had been made to his bank account from compensation claims, later transactions didn’t correspond with the purchase of the Golf.

A “substantial amount” of duty, almost €8,000, was paid on the car by McMorrow’s grandmother who the judge said had no interest in the car.

Judge Owens said McMorrow and Gethins are people of “no means” who live in a house they don’t own and don’t have the resources to account for the car, jewellery or cash.

He said the explanation is in the affidavits that McMorrow is a drug-dealer “working with other shady characters.”

The judge appointed a receiver with the power to sell off the car and jewellery and ordered the proceeds from the sales to be lodged in an account until they are forfeited to state.

McMorrow has more than 50 previous convictions.

Last October he got a three-month suspended sentence for obstructing garda when he was seen throwing away a plastic bag and a mobile phone as he was being chased by garda near his home.

In 2019 he was prosecuted for dangerous driving after members of the Divisional Drugs Unit attempted to stop him getting away from them.

The car was driven at high-speed on the wrong side of the road, mounted footpaths and only came to an end when a tyre blew out.