A SEPARATED father-of-three who imported almost a million euro worth of cannabis into the country has been sentenced to six years in prison.
Shane Mangan, who has an address at Suncrest, Crecora was arrested on November 7 last when gardai from the divisional drugs unit stopped and searched the van he was driving in the Ballyclough area.
During a sentencing hearing, Det Garda David Baynham said 25 kilogrammes of cannabis, worth around €300,000, were found concealed in the back of the white Ford Transit van.
Limerick Circuit Court was told defendant admitted importing the drugs from Holland and he told gardai he was paid €4,000 by criminal elements to do so.
The defendant, who was using a false driving licence when he was arrested, also admitted importing drugs from the Continent on four other occasions.
Andrew Sexton SC, representing Shane Mangan, said his client, who previously owned a successful plant hire business, had gotten into severe financial difficulties due to the downturn in the construction industry.
He said his client was a “cog” in the drugs industry and he said he was glad he was caught. “He knew he was into something wrong” he said adding that Mr Mangan does not have any trappings of wealth.
Richard Crehan - a friend of the defendant - said he was “very popular” in the Crecora area and he said he was surprised at what he had done.
“Shane Mangan and the drugs industry are like chalk and cheese,” he said.
Imposing sentence, Judge Carroll Moran noted that the defendant was not the owner of the drugs and that he was a courier.
He said Mr Mangan’s reward was “relatively small given the value of the drugs seized” but he said it was an aggravating factor that he was importing the drugs for his own financial gain.
The judge said the fact that Mr Mangan had been a “victim of the construction bubble” was a mitigating factor as was his co-operation with gardai.
He imposed a six year prison sentence which he back-dated to the date of the offence.