Irish man guilty of smuggling and money laundering
Guilty: Thomas Maher was living the ‘high life’ in the UK. Photo: NCA/PA Wire
September 26 2020 02:30 AM
- The conviction yesterday of a haulage boss in the UK on major drugs and money laundering charges is the first of an Irish criminal linked to police agencies compromising the EncroChat service in June.
This was previously a secure encrypted phone messaging service used by international organised crime groups including the Kinahan cartel but international police forces have compromised it.
Liverpool Crown Court heard yesterday Thomas Maher (39) from Clara, Co Offaly, was involved in smuggling €1.5m worth of cocaine into Ireland and moving almost €1m out.
Gardaí described the father of three as a “logistics manager” for all of the country’s main drugs gangs.
He was previously arrested but released without charge last October after being questioned about manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people in connection with the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants in a truck container in Essex.
Maher, who has been living “the high life” in the UK, was arrested for possession of €250,000 worth of drugs in Newbridge, Co Kildare, ten years ago after being arrested with another man by gardaí in that case.
His luck has finally run out and yesterday he was warned that he faces a lengthy jail term when he is sentenced on December 1.
Maher pleaded guilty to four counts of conspiracy to commit a crime abroad, spanning March 28 and May 11 this year. They included two charges of conspiracy to import class A drugs into Ireland and two of transferring criminal property into Ireland, €300,000 in April and €600,000 in May.
Maher was co-ordinating a transport network to facilitate drug importations into the UK via Ireland, and the transport of money from Ireland to Holland using encrypted EncroChat phones.