Alexandru Petica (39) of Tyrellstown, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possessing €408,820 in proceeds of crime
Alexandru Petica (39) of Bishops Orchard, Tyrellstown, Dublin 15, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possessing €408,820, the proceeds of crime, at Rosemount Business Park, Blanchardstown on November 22, 2021.
It was accepted that a co-accused, Ion Nostas (42) of Littlepace Drive, Clonee, Dublin 15, had arranged the involvement of Petica and another man. Nostas, who pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the same offence, was jailed for four years last October by Judge Martin Nolan.
The investigating garda told John Berry BL, prosecuting, that gardaí received a tip-off about the movement of a large quantity of cash belonging to an organised crime group. During a surveillance operation, gardaí observed two cars, a BMW, and a Toyota, parked in a remote part of the Rosemount Business Park.
Gardai observed Nostas, who was a passenger in the BMW, and another individual carrying two large bags to the Toyota, then covering them with sheets. Petica was the driver of the Toyota.
The two cars left the area and were later stopped by gardaí, who recovered €408,820 in cash.
The money was wrapped in elastic bands and had been vacuum-packed. All three men were arrested.
Nostas told gardaí that he was the director of two companies. During his fourth interview, Nostas accepted that he was involved in the operation.
He told gardaí that he had been approached by an Irish man known as Patrick and asked to move money in exchange for a payment of €1,000.
Nostas arranged for the other two co-accused to get involved. He told gardaí he intended to keep €800 of the €1,000 for himself and pay €200 to Petica, while the third co-accused knew nothing.
Petica told gardaí that he understood that he was to drive the cash to somewhere in Mulhuddart and was promised €200. He acknowledged that he knew it was a criminal operation.
Sentencing Petica, on Monday, Judge Dara Hayes noted evidence from Petica’s employer of his good character and a testimonial from a representative from the Romanian Orthodox Church that Petica is a member of.
He said Petica was a hard-working man from Moldova who came to Ireland in 2008.
“He took risks for small reward,” Judge Hayes said before he set a headline sentence of four years.
He took into account mitigating factors, including Petica’s early plea and remorse and said that “an immediate custodial sentence was not required” given his lack of role in the wider offending.
Judge Hayes imposed a sentence of three years which he suspended in full on strict conditions.
John Fitzgerald SC, defending, said that his client, who always worked and provided for his family, acknowledged that it was reckless what he did.
He handed in a large number of testimonials on his behalf and asked the court to accept his early plea of guilty and remorse as mitigating factors.