Grandfather received 'chilling' texts during garda questioning over cocaine consignment

CourtsBy Sunday World
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A great-grandfather received "direct, explicit and chilling" text messages during his garda questioning about a consignment of cocaine that had been intercepted at Dublin Airport, a court has heard.

Michael Moore (62) initially took no responsibility for the €70,000 worth of cocaine but then admitted to gardai in interview that he had agreed to facilitate the delivery of the drugs into Dublin and onwards through the UPS delivery company.

He told officers he had been provided with a phone by "other people in Spain" and had received instructions by call and text message.

Moore of Killala Road, Cabra West, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to being in possession of the one kilogram of cocaine on Grove Road, Finglas on September 4, 2009. He has no previous convictions.

Detective Garda Tom Griffin agreed with Sean Gillane SC, defending that while in garda detention messages continued to come through on the phone which were "quite explicit and threatening".

The messages demanded that Moore answer his phone and while others read: "What is your f***ing game?", "You are playing a dangerous game" and "We will find you wherever you go".

Moore was charged and later released on High Court bail. He then went on the run for six years before being arrested on a warrant last May having recently returned to Ireland.

Judge Melanie Greally sentenced him to eight years with the final two years suspended.

She said it was clear that Moore was operating under the instruction of those higher up the hierarchy and "dealing with menacing forces within the drug world".

She accepted that Moore was subject to threats but said it was unclear how he came into contact with these people in the first instance given that he was not using drugs himself at the time.

Judge Greally accepted that Moore's role was to supervise the transportation of the cocaine into the country but added that rather than facing up to his guilt he fled the country.

Det Gda Griffin told Dean Kelly BL, prosecuting that 13 packages, addressed to a bogus engineering company, were intercepted by custom officials at Dublin Airport. It was decided to allow the packages through but to monitor their progress with UPS.

On September 4, Moore's co-accused collected a package from a UPS depot before driving off to Finglas. He parked his car and walked away before returning later with Moore. At this point both men began examining the package and gardaí moved in to arrest them.

Moore was searched and found to have three mobile phones and two wallets on him. He was interviewed eight times. He initially denied any involvement but when gardaí showed him a betting slip from his wallet that had the UPS tracking number for the package on it, he accepted his role.

He said he had arranged for the other man to collect the package but claimed he didn't know there were drugs in it. He thought there might be money in the package as he knew the people were in the habit of moving large amounts of cash.

"He told me my family would be killed.....I didn't want my family shot. I was told to just get it to Dublin and make sure it was collected," Moore said before he added that he was more afraid of these other people than anything the gardai could do to him.

He said he had met his co-accused in Drogheda previously and had provided him with a mobile phone and the documentation he needed to collect the package.

Mr Gillane said his client has seven children, 16 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

He said the threats during garda interview were happening live and were "direct, explicit and chilling".

Counsel said when Moore left Ireland he spent time in England and Spain and was constantly looking over his shoulder, and "not just for the gardaí."

Sonya McLean