Eight year sentence for drugs and arms dealer

Ivan Tihon convicted of drugs and arms offences
Ivan Tihon convicted of drugs and arms offences

A Dublin court has jailed a Moldovan national for eight years for facilitating the storage and distribution of over €1.6m worth of drugs, guns and ammunition.

Ivan Tihon (32), of no fixed abode, had previously pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of ecstasy valued at approximately €1.8m. This plea was vacated on Tuesday by the State following the Court of Appeal’s “Bederev Judgement” earlier this month.

Tihon pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and cannabis for sale or supply at Finglas Business Park, Finglas and other locations in Dublin on April 17, 2014.

He also pleaded guilty to possession and control of various types of 9mm and .22 calibre pistols, one 9mm Steyr submachine gun, 96 rounds of 9mm ammunition and 50 rounds of .22 ammunition.

Eight men in total were arrested as part of a garda operation tackling the sale and supply of drugs. Various seizures of the items were made in Dublin.

Tihon had been observed leaving the storage unit in Finglas and driving three different vans from the location. He left two of them at a Tesco carpark in Clearwater Shopping Centre in Finglas and the final vehicle in Dublin’s Prussia Street.

The vehicles were kept under observations and the men who ultimately drove them from the shopping centre where arrested and the vans search.

The drugs had been stuffed into concealed compartments in the vehicles. A false panel had been built behind the driver’s seat in one and at the rear of a different van.

Detective Garda Daragh O'Toole told Cathleen Noctor BL, prosecuting that Tihon was arrested following a large garda surveillance operation and four separate seizures.

The total cannabis seized was 82.76 Kg with a value of €1,674,518 while the cocaine was valued at €6,300.

The guns, four semi-automatic pistols and one submachine gun had been wrapped in black tape and placed in the back of one of the vans.  The serial numbers had been ground away on some of them. The ammunition was discovered along with the firearms.

Det Gda O’Toole confirmed that Tihon had no previous convictions.

He agreed with Bernard Condon SC, defending, that Tihon was co-operative both with the search and later in his garda interview.

He said of the eight people arrested that day, there were five people below Tihon in terms of their various roles of responsibility within the operation but it was “ultimately not his enterprise”.

Det Gda O’Toole confirmed it was his Tihon’s job to facilitate the storage and distribution of the haul.

He told Judge Martin Nolan that although the firearms were taped up, the packages were in the shape of a gun and said it was clear from looking at them what they were.

Judge Nolan said it was a serious amount of drugs and Tihon must have been suspicious about what was in the packages.

He said he must take into account Tihon’s position in the enterprise.

“His monetary reward wasn’t great and he gave into temptation but there was a severe risk attached,” Judge Nolan said.