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Dublin dad-of-eight is jailed for nine years for moving cannabis worth over €2m

Judge Nolan said that George Finglas (46) of North Circular Road was acting as a transporter and knew what he was doing

George Finglas was caught with cannabis worth over €2.5m. Photo: RTE

Declan BrennanSunday World

A father of eight has been jailed for nine years for his role in moving over two million euros worth of cannabis.

Judge Martin Nolan said that George Finglas (46) of North Circular Road, Dublin was acting as a transporter and knew what he was doing.

On February 2 last year (2021), Revenue officials inspecting freight at Dublin Port and using a sniffer dog discovered two pallets of cannabis herb covered over by portable gas heaters.

Gardai from the National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau set up a surveillance operation and carried out a controlled delivery of the consignment to an industrial estate in west Dublin.

Detective Garda Jerome Twomey told Edward Doocey BL, prosecuting, that a person known as “Suspect b” arrived at these premises. Finglas then arrived separately in a rented van and suspect b began directing Finglas and another man to unload the pallets into the rental van.

“Suspect b”, who is still before the courts and cannot be identified at this point, drove off and Finglas drove off separately to a commercial premises in Baldongan in Lusk, Co Dublin.

The court heard this business had no involvement in the operation. At this point, gardai decided to move in and arrest Finglas.

They found three mobile phones in the rented van, including an encrypted phone. The encrypted one was opened and unlocked and investigators were able to read some of the messages.

There were messages referring to “129 bits for collection” which Dt Twomey said was a reference to the drugs. Another message to Finglas stated “another 13,000 wages for you this week mate”.

The cannabis herb had a weight of 128.45kg, with an estimated street value of €2.56 million.

After four interviews, Finglas gave gardai a prepared statement in which he admitted moving the drugs and said he did so under direction. He said he was told to take them to the second premises and strip them down.

He said he had built up a debt of €25,000 from a gambling problem and was in fear of the people he owed the money to.

Fiona Murphy SC, defending, told the court that her client was not actually receiving any payment but that money was being knocked off the debt in exchange for his co-operation.

Last January, Finglas pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession for sale or supply of the drugs.

The court heard that Finglas previously received suspended prison sentences for convictions of assault causing harm, two in 2011 and one in 2014. He has one conviction for drunk-driving from 2011.

Dt Gda Twomey agreed with Ms Murphy that her client was not previously on the “garda radar”.

Ms Murphy submitted to the court that her client was vulnerable because of his gambling problem and that others had exploited this vulnerability.

She said he did not seek bail but wanted to go into custody pending sentence so that his family members would not be placed in danger. She said that he is a hard-working man and outlined his previous work with a homelessness charity.

She said her client was caught in a trap and had no option but to engage with the operation. She said he is very remorseful and has done a lot of work to rehabilitate since this offending.

Judge Nolan said that while he accepted Finglas had debts and was put under pressure, he said he knew what he was doing

“While he was a transporter, he wasn't the most naive,” he said.

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