A breakthrough in encryption cracking technology led gardaí to one of two gang-member brothers who was the “factotum manager” of a warehouse used to store ammunition and €1.5 million in drugs, the Special Criminal Court has heard.
Messages uncovered on an encrypted phone revealed how gang members panicked about the size of boxes used in the operation and how they used code words such as a ‘slate of pollen’ for cannabis resin, ‘tools’ for firearms, ‘seeds’ for ammunition and ‘candy’, which referred to €108,000 in cash.
Douglas Glynn (38) last of Fitzgibbon Court, Dublin 1, on Monday pleaded guilty at the three judge court to conspiracy to commit a serious offence, namely the possession of 335 rounds of ammunition, contrary to Section 71 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2006.
Father-of-three Glynn pleaded guilty to conspiring with his brother Anthony along with Emmet Fogarty and persons unknown to commit a serious offence, namely the possession of 199 rounds of .44 Remington Magnum calibre ammunition, 76 rounds of .357 Magnum calibre ammunition, 38 rounds of .45 ACP calibre ammunition and 22 rounds of .22 LR calibre ammunition in such circumstances as to give rise to a reasonable inference that the said ammunition was not required for a lawful purpose.
The offence relates to dates between January 25th, 2017, and April 12th, 2017, both dates inclusive and within the State.
Glynn has already admitted conspiring to possess drugs worth almost €1.5 million after gardaí searched a lock-up in Dublin during the same operation.
On February 20th last, Glynn pleaded guilty at the Special Criminal Court to conspiracy to possess cocaine and cannabis with a value over €13,000 for the purposes of sale or supply at a location within the State between January 25th, 2014, and April 4th, 2017.
Glynn is already serving a 6.5-year jail sentence imposed by the same court for his involvement in a foiled Kinahan Cartel plot to murder James ‘Mago’ Gately, during which he placed a tracker device on the rival Hutch member’s car.
On Monday at the three-judge, non-jury court Glynn spoke only to acknowledge his name and respond “guilty” when the registrar read out today’s charge.
Detective Garda Sergeant Jonathan O’Leary of the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau told Dominic McGinn SC, prosecuting, that on foot of a search warrant drugs and ammunition were seized by gardaí in March 2017 from a business premises at Mount Dillon business park in Dublin 15.
The detective said surveillance had been put in place after a separate investigation aroused their suspicion about Glynn.
Det Sgt O’Leary told the sentence hearing that gardaí cut through a metal door on the premises and found 20 kilos of cocaine worth around €1.4 million, two kilos of cannabis resin worth around €11K and two kilos of cannabis herb worth around €40,000.
Det Sgt O’Leary said different types of ammunition discovered were suitable for use in Colt, Glock and Walther handguns.
The detective said Fogarty, of Brookhaven Drive, Blanchardstown, was “responsible” for the unit at the business park. Fogarty was 47-years-old when he was jailed for five years after pleading guilty to possession of the drugs and ammunition in November 2018.
A follow-up search to the lock-up carried out at a residential address in Dublin in April 2017 saw gardaí seize Blackberry phones on which a number attributed to Glynn was discovered.
Det Sgt O’Leary said technological breakthroughs in cracking phone encryption allowed gardaí to only fully access the contents of the phone in February 2021. The detective said the technology was able to identify a person saved under the codename ‘Oscar’ on the phone as Douglas Glynn.
Mr McGinn quoted a text message saying “eight green but not one with cartoon stickers” which Det Sgt O’Leary said referred to eight kilos of cannabis herb. A phone number saved as ‘E’ was identified as Fogarty, said the detective.
Det Sgt O’Leary said references to a “slate of pollen” referred to one kilo of cannabis resin and that “tools” referenced firearms. “Pis” referred to pistols and “seeds” referred to ammunition, said the detective, who added that one text read: “Little button on the side to put seeds in them”.
Det Sgt O’Leary said that “candy” referred to €108,000 in cash being held by the gang.
The garda said that Glynn’s brother, Anthony, could also be identified as having text messages and a user profile on the phone.
Last month, Anthony Glynn (51) of Fitzgibbon Court, Dublin 1, pleaded guilty at the Special Criminal Court to possessing the ammunition and drugs for an organised crime gang.
Det O’Leary said descriptions of the ammunition, drugs and boxes used found on the phone matched what was found at the lock-up.
The detective told Mr McGinn that a message from Anthony Glynn to Douglas Glynn described Fogarty as ringing in a panic about the size of the boxes which could not be moved by a single person. Det Sgt O’Leary said the description of the large boxes containing the drugs matched what was discovered at the search.
The witness said that Glynn exercised his right to silence when interviewed by gardaí in May 2021 before entering a guilty plea.
Det Sgt O’Leary said Glynn had 17 previous convictions, mostly for road traffic offences, and has one District Court conviction for possession of drugs. However, he said Glynn had a “significant” conviction from when he was sentenced for his role in a foiled murder plot of a Kinahan crime gang target.
Anne-Marie Lawlor SC, for Glynn, said her client was not the “beneficial owner” of any of the items found in the lock-up.
Mr Justice Tony Hunt asked Ms Lawlor if it was her case that Glynn was a type of “factotum warehouse manager” and was told “yes”.
Ms Lawlor said her client had three children who were suffering without the presence of their father in the family home. She said Glynn was a “cog” in the operation and received instructions from others and acted on them, which was accepted by Det Sgt O’Leary.
Det Sgt O’Leary also accepted that Glynn’s early plea of guilty was a “valuable” one in what would have been a lengthy circumstantial case.
Ms Lawlor said her client had been involved in a sports club and had engaged in a drug-treatment programme prior to his incarceration.
Counsel said her client did not waste the resources of the court or gardaí and did not choose to “roll the dice” by entering a not-guilty plea.
Ms Lawlor said Glynn had been the subject of a favourable governor’s report and that he was working and educating himself in prison.
Mr Justice Hunt adjourned the matter to March 16th for sentence.