A London career criminal has been sentenced to 21 years in prison in England for drug trafficking and money laundering between Ireland and the Netherlands. Paul O’Brien, 56, was an ‘establishment in organized crime’, according to Isleworth Crown Court. He was arrested in May 2020 after decrypted EncroChat messages in which he talked about cocaine transports and transporting large sums of cash.
According to investigators, Paul O’Brien, from Uxbridge, West London, was found to have collaborated with 42-year-old Thomas Maher, who was sentenced to more than 14 years in prison in December 2020 for drug transports and cash laundering throughout Europe.
The two men made agreements via EncroChat about a cocaine transport and the transport of 900,000 euros in cash. O’Brien used the name ONEDIAMONDGEE on the encrypted chat service. Conversations between the pair revealed that on the morning of April 4, 2020, a truck and a car had met near the Gelderland village of Uddel and exchanged cocaine, which according to authorities had sold for 1 million pounds (more than 1.15 euros) on the British market. million euros).
Maher informed O’Brien that their drug couriers had successfully delivered the cocaine to Britain later that day and that arrangements had been made for the cocaine to be collected in Ireland.
On April 10, Maher arranged for 300,000 euros to be collected from O’Brien near Louth in Ireland and transported by car to the Netherlands. A month later, on May 11, Maher arranged a second collection of 600,000 euros for O’Brien, again to be taken by couriers from Ireland to the Netherlands.
The exchange took place at a bus station in the Irish port city of Drogheda, after which a SWAT team arrested three couriers aged 42, 46 and 53 and seized the money.
Paul O’Brien was arrested at his home in Uxbridge on May 29, 2020 on suspicion of cocaine trafficking and money laundering. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 21 years in prison at Isleworth Crown Court on Friday.
39 dead Vietnamese
His accomplice Thomas Maher came onto the radar of the National Crime Agency (NCA) during the investigation into the deaths of 39 Vietnamese in a truck in Purfleet, England in October 2019. That vehicle was previously owned by Maher and was still standing after the sale registered in his wife’s name. A separate NCA investigation later revealed the full extent of Maher’s transport network, which stretched across Europe and transported illegal goods for criminals.
Maher has also been ordered to pay back more than 630,000 pounds (more than 726,000 euros) in criminal profits to the English state.