Ex-model Mark Adams became money mule for gangland banker after developing cocaine habit
January 10 2022 08:24 PM
Former Dublin Airport policeman Mark Adams became a money mule for a secretive gangland banker after he developed a chronic cocaine and gambling habit.
Gardaí believe that Adams was working for the wealthy man, who lives with his wife in a Dublin suburb and claims to have made his money through investments in pubs and textiles.
Adams, from Malahide in north Dublin, told a court in Northern Ireland last week that he was ‘under pressure from more sinister elements’ when he was caught with €180,000 of criminal cash in Belfast International Airport in 2018.
Already under Garda investigation after the discovery of more than €500,000 in his luggage in Dublin Airport three years previously, Adams had divided the money into envelopes when he was picked up by customs officers.
This week, he pleaded guilty to laundering the Belfast money and was told he will have to serve a sentence for the offences in the North when he completes his current jail term in southern Ireland.
Adams spent years moving money around for criminal gangs while purporting to be working on modelling assignments.
He enjoyed countless sun holidays and even posed for pictures looking tanned and relaxed, despite later claiming that he was forced into couriering money because of a debt he owed.
It is understood that Adams was recruited to work for a money launderer who has been on the Garda radar for decades and who is suspected of operating a banking system for criminal gangs, transferring drug cash in and out of the country and advising criminals on how to launder and move their money.
A Garda investigation found that Adams only earned €4,000 for seven modelling jobs over a five-year period from 2007.
Between January 2012 and March 2017 they traced €604,400 cash lodgements to three accounts held by him.
In 2015, he was caught at Dublin Airport as he attempted to board a flight to Belgium with €582,045 in his luggage.
Over the previous year, while on a career break from his job with airport police, he had booked a staggering 253 flights with airlines but made no comment about the money when asked about the source of it.
As he faced charges in relation to money laundering, he continued to move cash around and was arrested again when caught in Northern Ireland.
By January 2020, a European Arrest Warrant was issued for Adams after he failed to show up in court while out on bail but he was nabbed the following March and remanded in jail until he was sentenced to five years.
Last August, gardaí brought him to the border and handed him over to the PSNI so he could be dealt with by authorities in Northern Ireland too.
This week, as he pleaded guilty in relation to the cash, his defence counsel Eugene McKenna said Adams had been handed over to the North on the understanding that if convicted he would be sent back to the Republic to serve the rest of his five-year term.
After that he would be returned to the North to serve whatever sentence he will receive from the Crown Court.
McKenna said: “There are significant addictions to gambling and drugs that led to him getting into significant debt that he was obliged to address by acting as a courier under pressure from more sinister elements.”
Despite his claims that he was a victim of crime, gardaí believe Adams lived an extravagant lifestyle while travelling the world transporting drug money.
The father of one gave up his job in the airport police so he could jet set across Europe, often taking lengthy holidays and staying in top hotels.
Adams searched for love and fame when he appeared on an RTÉ dating show and even tried to get on Big Brother.
In 2010, the Malahide-native had a starring role in the TV series One Night Stand.
He was among a group of bachelors lined up to meet a trio of former Rose of Tralee beauties.
“I don’t know what to expect but I hope the girls won’t be too cruel,” he said back in 2010. “I suppose it’s too late to back out now. I think it’s a bit of a laugh and I’m single so I might as well try.”
In court Adams portrayed his life as anything but glamorous, claiming he was dependent on drugs.
When asked about the cash in his luggage in Dublin he said: “If I tell you I am a dead man, even if I don’t tell you I am a dead man anyway.”
He will appear in court in Antrim later this month.