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cash seizure Key money launderer for crime gang 'The Family' jailed for seven years

Gardaí made the biggest ever seizure of cash in their investigation into The Family drugs gang

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Darren Hoey, caught red-handed with €3.5 million of drugs gang's money

Darren Hoey, caught red-handed with €3.5 million of drugs gang's money

Darren Hoey, caught red-handed with €3.5 million of drugs gang's money

THE jailing of a man caught smuggling millions in cash is a huge blow against the major drugs gang known as The Family.

Yesterday, Darren Hoey, of Oak Drive, Ballacollig, Mountmellick Co Laois got a seven year sentence for laundering more than €3.5 million for the Dublin-based gang.

Details emerged in court yesterday to show how the gang had moved €18 million in just a three-month period.

The 46-year-old had been caught red-handed with €700,000 in bags in Co Kerry with another €2.8 million found in a nearby cottage last September.

Follow-up searches of his Co Laois home revealed another €700,000, making it the largest cash seizure ever made by the gardaí.

Hoey pleaded guilty to money laundering and other charges when he came before the Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee yesterday.

He was described in court as a trusted and responsible figure in a significant organised crime gang operating in this country.

Hoey was trusted with collecting, counting, packaging and overseeing large amounts of cash for export to buy drugs abroad, before the drugs were transported to this country.

The court was also told that a ledger found at Hoey's home tracked the movement of almost €18 million between July and September last year.

Judge Helen Boyle at Tralee Circuit Court sentenced Hoey to a total of eight years in jail, with one year suspended.

The Sunday World previously revealed how the gang Hoey worked for is known as The Family, headed by Ballyfermot-based drug dealer Brian Grendon.

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The Family have grown to be a significant underworld gang shipping huge volumes of drugs to supply the Irish market.

They have become a prime target of the garda Drug and Organised Crime Bureau in recent years.

It was members of the DOCB who had Hoey under surveillance and watched as he took two bags of cash from an Audi A4 car to his holiday home cottage near Lisselton in north Kerry last year.

Detective Superintendent Dave Gallagher told RTE after yesterday’s court hearing that money was the life blood of organised crime and gardaí will continue to target people who are willing to operate as facilitators.

Gardaí have been working closely with European and UK counterparts as part of their on-going operation against the mob.

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Brian Grendon

Brian Grendon

Brian Grendon

Gang-boss Grendon has been operating for decades along with his close associate Dee Dee O’Driscoll who the Criminal Assets Bureau described as the ‘leader of a criminal organisation involved in the large-scale distribution of heroin, cocaine and cannabis resin.'

Both have remained at arm’s length from their supply operations, ruling through fear and intimidation.

Officers have discovered how their business has been built by using low-level criminals and addicts hooked on heroin to store supplies and to move it around the country.

The gang are known to have targeted reformed drug users with free drugs to get back hooked on the product and then forced to work off their debt.

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