An Irish man was given a suspended prison sentence after he admitted purchasing marijuana on the darkweb to resell. He also admitted laundering €26,000.
Kilkenny City resident Ronan Whelan was sentenced during a sentencing hearing at the Kilkenny Circuit Court. During the hearing, the court was told that Whelan had purchased drugs on the darkweb to resell them. He then resold the drugs and laundered the proceeds.
Sergent Coleman, who led the investigation against the Whelan, provided the majority of the information about Whelan’s case during the sentencing hearing. The sergeant told the court that on May 30, 2019, the Gardaí had executed a search warrant at Whelan’s residence. The officers found and seized €1,605 during the search. They also seized weighing scales and packaging materials.
The Gardai had arrested the defendant and detained him for suspected money laundering. While being questioned, the defendant told the investigators that he had earned the money they found through drug distribution.
During their investigation, customs officers intercepted a suspicious package addressed to the defendant. The Gardaí seized the package and found cannabis worth more than €2,540 hidden inside of it. The defendant disclosed that he had been purchasing drugs on the darkweb and that he received a drug package every 10 days.
Sergent Coleman acquired a search warrant for Whelan’s bank accounts in June 2019. The search revealed the defendant’s account had received payments that amounted to a total of €9,598 in 2018 and €18,430 in 2019.
The Sergent also established that the defendant’s only source of “income” was social welfare. When questioned about the deposits made to his accounts, the defendant told the investigators that the deposits were the proceeds of his drug trafficking operation. He said he had claimed they were wages to hide their true source.
Whelan pleaded guilty to three counts of money laundering and one count of attempting to possess cannabis with the intent to supply.
After hearing that the defendant had been cooperative during the investigation and that he was “remorseful and ashamed,” Judge Patrick Meghan said that “the sophistication of the operation” could not be ignored. The judge then sentenced the defendant to three years in prison suspended for five years. The sentence is subject to the condition that the defendant enters a bond and be of good behavior.