herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Football star is suspected drug dealer for gang

crime

Gardai are investigating a prominent League of Ireland player amid claims he is heavily involved in the drugs trade.

The man is said to have ties to a notorious criminal gang based in the south east.

The individual is known to gardai and has a number of convictions for various offences.

In his teens, he appeared before the courts on various drugs possession charges.

He also landed himself in trouble with the law as a young adult and was convicted of drugs possession.

A source has said the talented athlete has managed to fly under the radar for the last number of years.

However, it's believed he is now selling potent strains of cannabis as well as pursuing his football career.

The alleged dealer is not the first Irish footballer to fall foul of the law.

In January, former Leeds United goalie Eddie Van Boxtel was handed a 10-year sentence for his part in a €3.5m cannabis smuggling operation.

The soccer star, who once saved a penalty from Manchester United legend Eric Cantona, eluded capture for more than six years.

hearing

Van Boxtel was one of four men arrested by gardai following the seizure of a large cannabis haul at Castlewarden on the Naas dual carriageway in 2008.

The Dutch-born keeper failed to appear at Naas District Court a number of months later for his scheduled hearing.

An arrest warrant was issued for Van Boxtel, but he wasn't captured until last year when officers arrested him during an intelligence-led operation in Clondalkin, Dublin.

During his trial in November Van Boxtel, who was working as a taxi driver at the time, said he was only "driving something from A to B".

He claimed he was employed by another man and was trying to "make a few quid" after he complained "the taxi game is dead".

He told investigators that he never saw the cannabis but admitted he knew "it wasn't marshmallows" in the back of a van.

Van Boxtel, who lived at Sillogue Avenue, Ballymun, was a well-known local goalkeeper.

He helped Dundalk to win the league in 1995 and also played with Galway United, Monaghan United, Home Farm and Bray Wanderers.

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