Two men jailed for €5m drug haul after meeting up at IKEA
Two men have been jailed for their roles in the importation of nearly €5m worth of cannabis, using what was described by gardai as an "unusually sophisticated system" which used the IKEA store as a meeting point.
Sean Mahony (39), of Dunamore Crescent, Killinarden, Tallaght and Peng Cheng (24), of Vlaurdingen, The Netherlands, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of drugs for sale or supply at locations in north Dublin last May 16.
Gardai observed Mahony and Peng, who was accompanied by another man, arriving at IKEA in vans on the day in question.
After they met, the third man drove Mahony's van to a warehouse at North City Business Park, where detectives saw it being loaded with pallets.
The man then returned to IKEA where Mahony and Peng were waiting.
Mahony left in the loaded van and was then stopped. Gardai found 72.7kg of cannabis in the van with an estimated street value of €1.55m.
A further 137kg of herbal cannabis and 88kg of cannabis resin were found in a search of the warehouse, bringing the total value of drugs found to nearly €5m.
Peng was jailed for nine years while Mahony was jailed for six.
Neither man has any previous convictions.
Peng told gardai that he was instructed to set up a food importation company by people he owed money to through gambling.
This company then imported drugs from Holland.
Det Gda John O'Rourke told James Dwyer, prosecuting, that it was "a complex arrangement with pallets of legitimate goods that also included drugs".
The drugs found in the warehouse were contained in boxes of Basmati rice.
Mahony told gardai he also owed money and was forced to act as a courier.
He said he was instructed to drive the van containing the drugs to Tallaght, park it and walk away.
Agreeing with Gerry O'Brien, defending, that Mahony did not know the amount of drugs involved, Det Gda O'Rourke said that a system involving barcodes was used to mark boxes containing drugs, so Mahony did not need to open them.
Judge Nolan described Mahony's role as a "one-off huge misjudgment" and took account of his guilty plea and lack of a criminal record.
However, he said that "he was mature when he embarked on this activity" and he must pay a considerable price for his involvement
A third man is due to be sentenced on March 24 for his role in the operation.