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CAB TARGET Cops alerted to alleged drug boss John Coone as he flashes cash on holidays and Mercedes while on social welfare

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John Coone and Pamela Coone on holiday

John Coone and Pamela Coone on holiday

John Coone and Pamela Coone on holiday

WEST Cork drug boss John Coone poses on a yacht on the Mediteranean months after he was the target of the biggest Garda drugs and money laundering probe against rural crime.

Portly Coone, who has been claiming social welfare payments, and his beautician wife Pamela look as if they haven’t a care in the world as they holiday off Santorini in Greece.

But back in Ireland he is facing the takedown of his alleged network and a massive CAB investigation into his funds and a string of businesses suspected of being fronts for his dirty money.

It was Coone’s lifestyle that first alerted gardai, who suspect he has graduated from street dealer to a major drugs boss in the south west in a few years.

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John Coone and Pamela Coone on holiday

John Coone and Pamela Coone on holiday

John Coone and Pamela Coone on holiday

His love of sun holidays and flash cars has placed him at the very top of the list of targets who are suspected of operating drug networks around the country.

But despite being public enemy number one from Clonakilty to Bandon, it seems his money is still burning a hole in his pocket.

ACCOUNTS

The father-of-seven has been caught red handed spending his fortune just months after an astonishing 120 gardai searched 21 premises linked to him.

Included in the properties searched was his wife’s Riverview Aesthetics, where customers have bum lifts, botox and lip procedures. It opened in 2018.

Pamela is a beautician and runs a tanning salon in Bandon.

During the raids, cash, jewellery, cars and documents were seized, while a number of bank accounts were frozen. A trawl of the financial network is now underway and a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Gardai suspect Coone has been dealing drugs for years. He was jailed for a year after he unsuccessfully appealed a conviction for drug dealing in 2012.

But since then it is his eye-watering spending that has brought him back on the garda radar. Despite claiming social welfare, he enjoyed fancy holidays abroad and drove expensive cars while living in rented accommodation supported by the State.

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He was identified by officers investigating major drug crime and the Criminal Assets Bureau because of his lavish lifestyle. But despite the crackdown earlier this year he has continued spending and has found himself on the wrong side of the law.

CHARGES

As our photos show, Coone and his wife enjoyed a Mediterranean holiday this year while the nation was urged not to travel.

But details of their trip to Santorini ended up being heard by the District Court when Coone failed to show up on driving charges — citing the fact that he had to isolate because a passenger who had been possibly infected with Covid-19 had sat next to him on the plane.

When he did appear in court last week he pleaded guilty to not having tax, failure to produce insurance documents within 10 days and the non display of a tax discs.

While a charge of driving with no insurance or licence were withdrawn, it was revealed during the proceedings that Coone was in a Mercedes car he had bought last April - just two months after the largest garda operation against a suspected rural drug gang in recent history.

Garda Eoin Hodnett told Bandon District Court that he had stopped Coone in the car last April 6 and noticed the tax was out 16 months.

PHONE

However, the court heard that the arrears of the tax we repaid and that he had only purchased the car days previously.

Coone, Judge James McNulty was told, had 49 previous convictions, two for tax.

The judge said he would adjourn the case until November 2 when he would consider disqualifying him from driving.

In September, Coone’s wife Pamela was given a one-year driving ban in the same court for holding a mobile phone.

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 John and Pamela Coone who were the subject of Cab raids last week.

John and Pamela Coone who were the subject of Cab raids last week.

John and Pamela Coone who were the subject of Cab raids last week.

She was stopped at a checkpoint operated by Garda Peter Curran who saw her driving a white Range Rover while holding a mobile phone.

“She didn’t see us and when she did pull in she was irate and abusive to us and denied holding a mobile phone,” said Garda Curran.

A fixed charge notice of €60 was issued and not paid and the court heard she had previous convictions for road traffic and public order offences. Judge McNulty convicted and fined her €500 and disqualified her from driving for one year, while recognisances for an appeal were fixed in her bond of €1,500.

Meanwhile, father-of-three David McSweeney was convicted of cocaine dealing following the searches last February. Bandon District Court heard evidence that he was a member of ‘an organised drugs and crime gang’ and that during the searches he was linked to a quantity of cocaine, weighing scales, 100 empty deal bags, over €4,000 in cash and three mobile phones.

Detective Garda Andrew Manning gave evidence of McSweeney’s links to the drug gang and he got 10 months in prison and was fined €1,000 while leave to appeal was fixed.

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