26 Sept 2022

Donegal man admits that €19,000 found in raid was proceeds of crime

Brian Shiels appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court.

Letterkenny courthouse

Letterkenny courthouse

Gardaí found over €28,000 in cash at the home of a man they believed to be engaged in the sale and supply of drugs.

Brian Shiels (33) of Umlagh, Carrigart was before Letterkenny Circuit Court charged with an offence contrary to the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act 2010.

Shiels accepted ownership of €19,000 and admitted that it was the proceeds of criminal activity.

Garda Patrick Kelly, of the Milford District Drugs Unit, told the court that he obtained a warrant and entered the property at 6pm on October 21, 2020.  He introduced himself to the sole occupant of the house, Shiels’ sister.

Upon Shiels’ return to the property, two mobile phones were seized from the accused.  A large quantity of conversations, which were believed to be relating to the sale or supply of controlled drugs, were found on the device.

The court herd that two large sums of cash, one of €19,000 and the other of €9,040, were found at separate locations in the house.

Shiels accepted ownership of the €19,000, found in a drawer in his bedroom, but told Gardaí that the €9,040, which was found in another bedroom, belonged to his sister.

During detention at Milford Garda Station, Shiels admitted that the €19,000 belonged to him and was the proceeds of crime. Shiels told Gardaí that he was selling cocaine to ‘Dublin boys’.

Garda Kelly said that a homemade cocaine press, which was manufactured by Shiels, was presented to officers during the search.

Counsel for the State, Ms Patricia McLaughlin, told the court that the maximum penalty for such an offence was 14 years imprisonment.

Defence barrister, Ms Fiona Crawford BL, said this represented a ‘turn in the road’ for Shiels.

“He was in way too deep. He has not hidden back from this and he has realised what he has done. He has been in a relationship for five years and, while dealing drugs has caused problems, his partner has stayed with him.

“He has disassociated himself from certain friends and he has avoided drugs. This is a cause of embarrassment for him and he has to deal with that in the local area.”

Ms Crawford said that Shiels had ‘got into difficulties’ and left the area, going to Barcelona for a period, before returning at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“He was put under pressure by other people and he found himself doing what he was doing,” Ms Crawford said. “He was embarrassed and scared.”

Shiels had been unemployed at the time of the offence, but now working as a part-time milkman. Shiels returned to college to complete a degree in computer service management.

Judge John Aylmer said the matter was ‘very serious’ and adjourned the case to next Thursday, February 3, for sentencing.

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