Man jailed for six and a half years for using his home to store cannabis

Judge Martin Nolan
Judge Martin Nolan

A father of one who allowed his home to be used to store over €2.3 million worth of cannabis in return for the rent being paid on the property has been jailed for six and half years.

Brendan Mangan (43) of Wellington Walk, Mornington Park, Co. Meath, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the drugs for sale or supply at the house on March 7, 2014.

Mangan had recently separated with his wife and although he had been living with his sister he needed his own home so that his teenage son could stay with him at weekends.

He was approached by a man who suggested to him that the rent could be paid on a house for him if in return he allowed packages to be stored in a spare bedroom.

Mangan agreed to the proposal and the deposit and a month’s rent was paid for a house in Tonlegee Road, in Coolock, Dublin. He later advertised a room for sublet in his local shop after he was advised to do so to make the set-up look more legitimate. 

Judge Martin Nolan said “parties became aware of Mangan’s situation and took advantage”.

He accepted that Mangan was the minder of the cannabis and didn’t expect to be holding that amount of drugs.

He also accepted that Mangan was on the lower rung of the ladder, was a man with common sense and maturity but said he had unfortunately succumbed to temptation.

Garda Joe McBride told Fiona Murphy BL, prosecuting, that gardaí were investigating drug dealing in the Coolock area and had the house on Tonlegee Road under surveillance when they spotted a man load up three packages into a car having taken them out of the house.

They followed the car which ultimately led to a high speed chase when the driver tried to flee. Three packages, containing over 24 Kg of cannabis worth an estimated €498,000, were later found in the car.

The man driving this car has since absconded and has never been charged.

A follow up search of the house led to the discovery of ten boxes of cannabis and a number of false driving licenses. These drugs weighed a total 92 Kg and had a street value of over €1.85 million.

Mangan was arrested and interviewed during which he explained the set up to gardaí and confirmed that he worked for a serious drug gang for money.

He accepted that he took instructions from them knowing it was illegal and said he had also been provided with a false driving license which he had used to rent a lock up in Drumcondra.

Gda McBride agreed with Michael Bowman SC defending, that the driver of the other car is presumed to be aboard and his client knew nothing about him as he had given him a false name.

He accepted that Mangan was always going to be connected with the house as the others involved in the operation had deliberately set it up to distance themselves from the property.

Mr Bowman said his client had “a solid work history” and is currently employed in the security sector.

He told Judge Nolan that Mangan had assumed “an enormous risk that has come to roost”, to provide a roof over his head and a bedroom at weekends for his son.

Counsel said it was in “an error of judgement” that would lead “to his liberty being snapped from him” and put in an environment “alien to him”.

Mr Bowman said it was known that his client was vulnerable and needed a home for his son.

“That level of decency was the door into his soul which will ultimately take his liberty,” counsel continued.