Man caught transporting €1.2m in cash for criminal jailed for two years

Noel Purcell (45) had ‘moment of madness’ when he agreed to shift money in truck for fee of €4,000

Noel Purcell told gardaí he had agreed to transport the money to the Netherlands after he met a man on a boat and confided in him about his personal debt issues, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

Noel Purcell told gardaí he had agreed to transport the money to the Netherlands after he met a man on a boat and confided in him about his personal debt issues, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

 

A truck driver caught transporting more than €1.2 million in cash for a criminal in his truck has been jailed for two years.

Noel Purcell told gardaí he had agreed to transport the money to the Netherlands after he met a man on a boat and confided in him about his personal debt issues, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

The 45-year-old, described by his defence team as “vulnerable” and “easily-led”, told gardaí he had been offered €4,000 to transport the money. He was struggling with mortgage and credit card debt at the time, the court heard.

Purcell, of Tullyvoheen, Clifden, Co Galway, pleaded guilty to one count of possessing cash that was the proceeds of a crime at the Naas Road, Dublin on July 12th last.

Det Garda Redmond O’Leary told Diana Stuart BL, prosecuting, that following a surveillance operation gardaí pulled Purcell over on the Naas Road on the day in question.

In the cab of the truck, gardaí found two large bags containing several packages wrapped in duct tape. Purcell told gardaí it “wasn’t drugs, but cash”, the court heard. When counted by gardaí, the cash amounted to €1,287,700.

Purcell, who had no previous convictions, told gardaí he “didn’t know what he was getting in to” and had butterflies in his stomach on the day he collected the cash.

Det Garda O’Leary agreed with Bernard Condon SC, defending, that Purcell was vulnerable and easily led. He said gardaí accepted Purcell’s version of events.

Financial difficulties

The court heard Purcell has been a truck driver since he was 21. He is separated with two children and has a new partner. Documents were handed into court outlining his financial difficulties.

Mr Condon said Purcell was suffering from anxiety and financial stress at the time of the incident, which he described as a “moment of madness”.

“He made a terrible mistake, an appalling error in his life,” he said, adding that Purcell was extremely remorseful for his actions and unlikely to re-offend.

Judge Melanie Greally noted that the amount of money involved was very high and said there was an “inexcusable degree of recklessness” to what Purcell had engaged in.

She said a custodial sentence was unavoidable, given the need for general deterrence, and imposed a seven year prison term but suspended five years on condition that Purcell be of a good behaviour. The court heard that the Probation Service assessed Purcell as being unlikely to reoffend.