Man charged after €900,000 found hidden in Cavan farmhouse

A Dublin truck driver has been charged with laundering almost €900,000 in crime proceeds after Gardaí found bags of money hidden behind brickwork at a farmhouse in Co Cavan.

Father-of-three Jonathan O’Connor, 28, from Elm Road, Donnycarney, Dublin 9, was charged under section seven of Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010.

He is accused of possessing proceeds of crime valued at €870,620 and Stg£14,840, at a farmhouse at Dromore, Bailieboro, Co. Cavan on June 28.

It follows and investigation by the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB).

He appeared before Judge Bryan Smyth at Dublin District Court yesterday/today (tue) when bail was set in his own bond of €1,000 along with a €25,000 independent surety.

Detective Garda Enda Gormley said Mr O’Connor made no reply when charged.

Objecting to bail, he told Judge Smyth the offence carries a sentence of up to 14 years.

The investigation was on-going and further charges could be brought, he said.

He told the court the GNDOCB was carrying out an investigation, “targetting an individual involved in the sale or supply of drugs in the State”.

Surveillance was carried out at a farmhouse on Sunday.

Detective Garda Gormley alleged that at 12.30pm the accused, accompanied by two children, arrived in the farmyard.

They rode quad bikes around the fields and then put them back into the shed. Gardai then entered with a search warrant, the court heard.

It was alleged the accused told them he had a bag containing €88,100 in the car. That cash was recovered from the vehicle and a full search of the premises was then carried out.

Nineteen plastic bags containing €782,520 and £14,840Stg were concealed behind brickwork in outhouses.

It was alleged Mr O’Connor pointed out two of the locations.

Detective Garda Gormley said there was “large scale money laundering in proceeds of crime” and the accused was caught red-handed.

He agreed with defence solicitor Daniel Hanahoe that Mr O’Connor had no previous convictions or history of bench warrants.

He accepted the accused was not a flight risk and that he was a family man with a stable life working as a truck driver.

His brother and family had come to court to stand bail, Judge Smyth was told.

Judge Smyth said the amount of money seized was significant and clearly the charge was serious.

He set bail with conditions and said an independent surety had to be approved by the district court.

Mr O’Connor’s passport has been seized and he was ordered not to apply for a new one. Gardaí have his phone and he must provide them with a new contact number within 48 hours.

He was warned that he cannot travel to Co. Cavan, he must sign on daily at Clontarf Garda station and obey a curfew.

Judge Smyth remanded him in custody with consent to bail on these terms to appear at Cloverhill District Court on Thursday.

Mr O’Connor, who has not yet indicated how he will plead, did not address the court.