Three houses linked to ‘major player’ in Dublin drug trade derive from proceeds of crime, rules judge

Court hears that David Waldron and wife enjoyed ‘lavish foreign travel’ inconsistent with legitimate income

The logo on a jacket of a member of the Criminal Assets Bureau  carrying out searches on homes and businesses in Dublin targeting the activities of a south inner city-based crime group linked to David Byrne, who was murdered in the Regency Hotel.  PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 9, 2016. See PA story POLICE Raids Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson /PA Wire

A Dublin drug dealer has lost a legal battle with the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) which has secured orders declaring that three of the man’s properties derive from or are connected to crime proceeds.

Mr Justice Alexander Owens accepted the bureau’s contention as “reasonable”, and supported by “persuasive” evidence, that Cabra man David Waldron has been a “major player in the illegal distribution and sale of controlled drugs in Dublin since 2000 and that this activity has been the mainstay of his means, income and lifestyle”.

The judge said Garda intelligence is that David Waldron and his brother Christopher Waldron took a “leading role” in sourcing and supplying controlled drugs in the Cabra area after Eamon The Don Dunne was murdered in April 2010.

David Waldron and his wife, Charlene Waldron, enjoyed “lavish foreign travel” inconsistent with legitimate income up to his imprisonment in March 2015, said the judge. The lifestyle resumed when he was released from jail and they rarely used their bank accounts to defray ordinary daily living expenses, he said.

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The judge said Ms Waldron “cannot but have been aware of the source of her means and of her husband’s means to engage in these activities”.

The Cab has separately seized the Dublin home of Christopher Waldron and is due to auction it next Friday. The bureau took possession of the house and some expensive watches from Christopher Waldron, of Killala Road, Cabra, after successfully arguing in the High Court that he bought them through the sale of drugs in Cabra and Finglas.

In a ruling on Wednesday, the judge said the bureau alleged David Waldron has been “heavily involved” in the illegal supply and sale of controlled drugs since 2000 and that drug dealing has been his main income.

The Cab, represented by Gráinne O’Neill, persuaded him that the wherewithal for purchasing and discharging mortgage payments on properties in Finglas and Leixlip, Co Kildare, came from crime proceeds and not from legitimate earnings, savings or loans from friends. The Finglas property was sold.

A further house in Cabra, Dublin 7, was bought for €330,000 and extensively refurbished using crime proceeds, the judge found.

The couple now live in a large detached house at Darview Heights near Gorey in Co Wexford. The judge said the mansion was built in 2015 and 2016 while David Waldron was in prison. The source of building and fit-out funds “remains unexplained and is most likely to have originated in proceeds of crime”, he held.

The judge made orders under section 3(1) of the 1996 Proceeds of Crime Act regarding the Gorey, Leixlip and Cabra properties, which remained in the Waldrons’ possession, declaring them direct or indirect crime proceeds. The couple had contested the bureau’s case, which was initiated in July 2019.

The judge said evidence provided by the Waldrons is not sufficient to displace his provisional conclusion on the evidence from the bureau about the three properties still in their possession.

The Cab’s evidence related to David Waldron’s criminality and the absence of any plausible non-criminal explanation for the resources used to acquire and develop the houses and to finance mortgage payments, he said.

The judge said David Waldron has numerous criminal associates, including his brother Christopher and another individual identified only as JF. He has been sentenced twice to imprisonment, first in 2000 for possession of controlled drugs for sale or supply and second, in March 2015, for violent disorder related to a planned attack in a pub in Cabra on a man who had accused him of shooting a cousin in a different pub, added the judge.

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan is High Court Reporter with The Irish Times