A GANGSTER with links to the Christy Kinahan crime syndicate used a fake passport to travel to Spain and Portugal while he was on bail facing drugs and gun charges.
Tallaght thug Barry Fowler (30) was yesterday jailed for seven-and-a-half years.
The father-of-one has previous convictions for road traffic matters and common assault and received a three-year sentence for dangerous driving causing the death of a teenager in 2005.
Fowler, a close associate of under-threat mobster Paul Rice, is considered highly dangerous.
Sources confirmed last night that Fowler was still considered by gardai to be “an active participant in serious organised criminality” in the Tallaght and Clondalkin areas.
“It is great that Fowler has finally been locked up. He has been causing mayhem for way too long now,” a source said.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard how Fowler led gardai to a van containing more than €370,000 of drugs when he failed to use the indicators on his car.
He sped off in his BMW to escape the patrol car and gardai tracked him down to the basement of his former apartment complex.
An alarm fob on Fowler’s car keys pointed officers to a nearby transit van which was packed with €250,727 of cannabis, €103,404 of cocaine and €8,827 of heroin.
Gardai also found €5,672 of amphetamines and €1,522 of cannabis resin in the van, along with €2,000 of cannabis under the BMW’s bonnet.
Fowler, of The Crescent, Millbrook Lawns, Tallaght, pleaded guilty to possessing the drugs for sale or supply at Hunters Hall, Hunterswood, Ballycullen, on June 26, 2012.
He also pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a sawn-off shotgun and 9mm bullets on the same date at the same place.
Gda Peter Collins said Fowler took responsibility for the drugs tick lists found in his home and the van.
He has been in custody since he was arrested at Shannon Airport in April in possession of a false passport after he arrived from Alicante. It is also understood that he visited Portugal.
Gda Collins told Vincent Heneghan, prosecuting, that Fowler said he had no bank accounts and had been claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance at the time of his arrest.
Gda Collins agreed with Giollaiosa O Lideadha, defending, that his client’s guilty plea was valuable as it would have been hard to prosecute the case.
He further agreed that Fowler had fully co-operated with the investigation.
The gangster’s barrister said Fowler became depressed and got involved with drugs after the dangerous driving causing death offence.
Counsel gave the judge written testimonials on behalf of his client, including a letter allegedly from Fr Peter McVerry of the Peter McVerry Trust.
The barrister later apologised for the inclusion of this letter after a brief court adjournment, when Mr Heneghan confirmed that Fr McVerry had no know-ledge of it.
Mr O Lideadha submitted to Judge Nolan that the letter had been handed in “in good faith”.
Judge Nolan, in sentencing Fowler, noted that he was “no novice” with the criminal justice system and had been “seriously involved in this drug dealing operation”.
He imposed a seven-and-a-half-year sentence for the drugs possession and four years for the firearms offence to run concurrently. In November 2007, Fowler was jailed for three years for killing a teenage girl while speeding on his uninsured motorbike.
Sarah Hanlon (15) died on May 26, 2005 when she was hit by Fowler’s motorbike as it hurtled down the 50kph speed limit Cheeverstown Road, Tallaght, at 113kph.