Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Mark Adams' (41) life had been "blighted" with a dependency on drugs and gambling but he was on a waiting list for treatment when stopped by customs officials as he was about to board a flight with over half-a-million euro in cash in 2015.
"If I tell you I am a dead man, even if I don't tell you I am a dead man anyway," said Adams when asked about the source of the cash in the airport.
The father of one has no previous convictions and has been in custody since March 2020.
Adams, of Castle Heath, Malahide, Dublin pleaded guilty to engaging in handling €582,045 the proceeds of criminal conduct at Dublin Airport on September 11, 2015.
He also pleaded guilty to money laundering in relation to €227,130 at Bank of Ireland, Dublin Airport; €298,280 at PTSB, Main Street, Malahide and €78,990 at Bank of Ireland Credit Card Centre between January 2012 and March 2017.
Judge Martin Nolan said as an airport policeman for 13 years, Adams "knew the ways of the world" and would have been under no illusions that he was aiding criminal enterprises.
He noted Adams had pleaded guilty, made admissions and had no previous criminal record. He took into account Adams has a work history and is a good father and family man.
"I consider money laundering to be very serious. It is vital to any criminal enterprise to have people to money launder for them and for his own reasons, he did this," said Judge Nolan.
He imposed five years' imprisonment.
Judge Nolan said Adams was capable of reform so he did not think there was any point in suspending part of the term.
He said the five years was to act as a punishment and general deterrent.
Detective Garda Tom Victory of the Garda Economic Crime Bureau told Garrett McCormack BL, prosecuting, Adams was intercepted by customs officials on the morning of September 11, 2015 as he was attempting to get on a flight to Brussels and a large concealed sum of cash was recovered.
A further small sum was found in a follow-up search resulting in a total of €582,045 being forfeited to the State on that occasion.
A money laundering investigation was launched and gardaí discovered €604,400 in numerous cash lodgements to three accounts held by Adams on dates between January 2012 and March 2017.
When arrested, Adams said this represented earnings from modelling. The investigation found that the model agency Adams worked for had closed in 2012 and prior to that he had earned €4,000 in relation to seven modelling jobs between 2007 and 2012.
Det Gda Victory said documentation showed 253 flights booked with airlines in 2014 and 2015. Adams made no comment to gardaí when asked about the source of the money seized at the airport.
The court heard Adams was a former airport policeman who was on career break when under investigation.
Det Gda Victory agreed with Michael Bowman SC, defending, that when spoken to in the airport about the money and asked if he owned it, Adams said "If I tell you I am a dead man, even if I don't tell you I am a dead man anyway".
He agreed that the loss of this money would place Adams in a "precarious position" with people who "value money above all else".
Det Gda Victory agreed that in relation to the money in the airport the cash was not his and he was effectively moving it from A to B.
Mr Bowman handed in a number of testimonials as well as a letter from the accused man himself.
He outlined Adams is attending counselling and working as a Red Cross volunteer while in custody.
He said Adams had been a promising sportsman but suffered a career-ending injury at a young age.
He developed a dependency on alcohol and cocaine and suffered from depression.
Counsel said he had been on a waiting list for a treatment centre when arrested.
He outlined testimonials from family which characterised him as a good person who had made poor decisions.
Mr Bowman said Adams had not used his position as a former airport policeman in his offending.