Man who handled stolen cash and had €430k worth of prescription pills avoids jail

Dean Furlong (45) pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Dean Furlong (45) pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

A man who admitted handling stolen cash from two cash in transit robberies and having €430,000 worth of prescription tablets has received a suspended sentence of seven years.

Dean Furlong (45) pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to handling €12,000 in stolen cash on April 12, 2012 and €30,000 in stolen cash at Landon Road., Ballyfermot, Dublin  on August 16, 2012.

Furlong of Beelin Mews, Tyrrellstown, Dublin also pleaded guilty to supplying a medicinal product without a prescription and having drugs for sale or supply in Tallaght on October 13, 2011.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring had previously adjourned sentencing a number of times to allow Furlong attend drug addiction treatment. The court heard he has completed this programme and has since enrolled in an addiction studies course at Dublin City University.

Judge Ring said that in light of the commitment he had shown to deal with his addiction she would suspend the sentence and she wished him good luck.

Furlong's 34 previous convictions are mostly for traffic offences but include a three year sentence for assault handed down in October 2006.

Detective Garda David Jennings told Michael Bowman BL, prosecuting that Furlong was stopped on the Tallaght bypass in November 2011 and became aggressive and agitated when asked for his name and address.

Twenty boxes of two types of prescription medication were discovered in the back of his van but Furlong refused to tell gardaí where they had come from.

Det Gda Jennings said the tablets were later analysed and found to be 178,000 Zopiclone tablets and 19,000 Dalmane tablets with an estimated value of €430,000.

He agreed with Padraig Dwyer SC, defending, that gardaí were satisfied that Furlong had been effectively operating as a courier in order to pay off a serious drug debt.

It was accepted that Furlong was in genuine fear of “other individuals” and that he had been doing well since his remand in custody.

Furlong was on bail and present in a Dublin house when gardaí raided it in April 2012 following a tip off. An orange bag held closed with an elastic band and containing €11,885 in cash covered in red dye was discovered.

The court heard that he took full responsibility for the cash which had been taken during a robbery of cash-in-transit van in Terenure the previous week. The raiders had fled the scene with €12,000 in a stolen Opel Zafira which had false registration plates fitted.

Detective Garda Jonathan O’Leary said a G4 security cash in transit van was robbed at Rathfarnham Shopping Centre on August 16, 2012 and €30,000 was taken. Furlong was not involved in the robbery.

The cash box was fitted with an exploding dye mechanism and GPS system and was later traced to an address in Ballyfermot.

Garda saw a car leaving that address at speed. Neighbours told gardaí they had seen a man, who is not Furlong, running along the back of houses and that a number of notes had fallen in his vicinity.

Dye stained notes and the cashbox were found nearby. An attempt had been made to open it with a saw and €7,000 was recovered.

Gardaí later saw Furlong and another man lying on the grass at Markievicz Park. Furlong's pants, footwear and hands were stained by dye and he was arrested.

Furlong’s mother died of cancer in 1984 which counsel said had “a destructive effect on him and his family” and his father had a “problem” keeping the family together.

Sonya McLean and Declan Brennan