'An essential cog' - Cartel bagman jailed after gardai seize €169k cash
One of the Kinahan cartel's main bagmen has been jailed for four-and-a-half years after being caught with €169,000 in cash.
David Dowling (49) was yesterday jailed after he pleaded guilty last July to two charges of engaging in the business of handling the proceeds of crime at Westend Retail Business Park, Blanchardstown, and at Sorrell Heath, Clonsilla, on September 26, 2015.
The Herald can reveal that Dowling has been a long-term target of the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) and is believed to have been one of the cartel's main bagmen.
A senior source said that Dowling, of Sorrell Heath, was a trusted associate of the crime gang and was tasked with organising and laundering its proceeds of crime.
"Dowling would have collected the money from Dublin and across the country which was made from the cartel's drug business," the source said.
"It is a great capture for gardai. This money is the product of drugs being imported, distributed, sold and people being threatened to pay up.
"The cash is the result of all that and these seizures hurt them the hardest."
Yesterday, Judge Martin Nolan said Dowling was an "essential cog in a drug dealing enterprise".
"David Dowling was helping these parties. There is no point in having money if you can't move it where you want to move it," he said.
Dowling had 17 previous convictions, dating from the 1980s and 1990s. Judge Nolan said these were old convictions and he was not taking them into consideration for his sentence.
Detective Garda Paul Kane told the court that in September 2015, gardai set up a surveillance operation after receiving confidential information about the laundering of substantial sums of money by a criminal organisation.
They stopped Dowling in a van after he was seen picking up a package from a car during a meeting in a car park in Westend retail park. The package contained €69,610 in cash.
During a follow-up search of Dowling's family home in Clonsilla, gardai seized a further €99,020 and a vacuum-packing machine. Some of the cash was found wrapped up in a towel in a sports bag.
Judge Nolan said that references handed into the court described Dowling as a "good family man and a good community man".
"Unfortunately he involved himself in a very serious scheme, handling profits from drug dealing," the judge said.
Asked by Judge Nolan where the money came from, the detective said: "It's drugs money."
He said he knew this because of intelligence obtained from confidential sources.
Det Gda Kane said Dowling was "a cog in the wheel" and would bring the cash home, count it and package it before moving it onwards.
The court heard that gardai observed Dowling travelling to the Westend retail park in a van. He got out of the van and walked over to the front passenger door of the car and took a rectangular shaped package.
Gardai stopped the two vehicles and found the cash on Dowling. They arrested him and the driver of the other car, who was also later charged.
Officers then obtained a search warrant for Dowling's home. When they got there, a juvenile male answered the door and shouted upstairs that there were gardai in the house.
The officers went upstairs and saw a woman going into a bedroom, where she threw some clothes into a sports bag. She picked up the bag and told them she was taking her children to the swimming pool.
Gardai told her to put the bag down. On searching the bag they found €6,000 concealed in a towel in the bag. Another sum was found behind a curtain, and the total seized in the house to €99,020.