Barry Fowler (37) of Millbrook Lawns, Tallaght, Dublin, pleaded guilty to being in possession of €134,000 worth of cannabis on 24th May 2021.
Detective Garda Declan O’Reilly told the court gardai were conducting a surveillance operation when Fowler and a co-accused were monitored in the Tallaght area.
The court heard the co-accused was seen putting something into the boot of a car before driving off in a taxi.
Fowler was seen taking keys from the car before gardai approached him and was seen attempting to discard the keys before being arrested. The co-accused was also arrested by gardai, the court heard. Gardaí searched the car and found €134,000 worth of cannabis in a bag.
The court heard the accused said during a garda interview he was under threat by gangs, but Det Garda O'Reilly told the court he did not believe the accused in this regard.
Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, defending, told the court the accused takes full responsibility for his actions and his mother is “broken hearted” since he went into custody. The accused has completed a conflict resolution course while in prison. Letters have been received from friends, family, and his employer in defence of the accused.
Fowler was previously convicted of being in possession of drugs and a submachine gun and sentenced to seven and a half years in prison. The court heard he finished his sentence shortly before this incident occurred.
He also received a three-year sentence for dangerous driving causing the death of a teenager in 2005. His sister said in a written statement mentioned in court that Fowler has been battling a coke addiction and mental health issues since the accident.
Judge Martin Nolan said his record of "quite serious convictions" is one of the main aggravating factors. The value of drugs was also taken into consideration, but Judge Nolan said he believes the accused has middle to low culpability in this scheme.
Fowler is considered a serious organised criminal with associations deep into the Kinahan mob and is a long time pal of gangland heavy Paul Rice.
In March of last year the Sunday World photographed Fowler in a van painted to look like a DHL delivery vehicle and dressed in a uniform but the company had not employed him and the van, it was discovered, had been mocked up and sold by a west Dublin garage.
Fowler is one of the top targets of the National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau and proceedings were previously issued against him by the Criminal Assets Bureau.