The money found during a Garda raid on a farm in Limerick in April 2013 was the biggest discovery of cash belonging to criminals in the history of the State. Limerick Circuit Court heard the scene of the laundering operation, a field in Portcrusha, Montpelier, Co Limerick, was “awash with money”.
John Duffy, aged 55, who once worked as a chauffeur and ran a car valeting business in Limerick, pleaded guilty to laundering the money, knowing it to be the proceeds of crime.
Duffy, with an address at Shanabooly Road, Ballynanty Beg, who was jailed for six years in 2000 for the sale and supply of drugs, would not say who the money belonged to as he was in fear of them. He did tell gardaí the money came from the illegal sale of cigarettes.
Det Garda David Boland, Roxboro Road station, said when he and other gardaí raided the farm, they found Duffy inside a large container, drying and packaging the money. The container had a supply of electricity from which the spin drier worked. When the money was dried out, he vacuum packed notes in plastic wrapping.
Another man, named as Mr X, believed to be the owner of the property, was on a mini digger outside the container, digging up the cash which had been buried.
Some of the money was on the ground outside the container and large sums were inside being dried and packaged by Duffy.
Det Garda Boland said some of the money was found in an ammunition box.
Duffy said the money was given to him in four large deliveries and his job was to break it into smaller quantities. Duffy said he was acting under duress and would not name those the money belonged to as he feared for his life.
Det Garda Boland agreed that if a person is given money by a drugs baron to mind and if it is discovered by gardaí, the drugs baron deems this results in a debt by the person entrusted to mind the money.
Judge Tom O’Donnell passing sentence said: “This was a premeditated enterprise and somewhat sophisticated in its modus operandi. This container was awash with cash, the proceeds from illegal cigarette sales. This leads to considerable loss of revenue. I described it as spectacular. This is so when you consider the amount of cash being laundered in broad day light with one man on a digger.”
Judge O’Donnell ordered the money to be confiscated by the State.