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Ex-Dublin Airport cop jailed after being caught with cash in hand luggage on the way to Spain

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A former Dublin Airport cop and model has been jailed for 20 months for laundering huge amounts of money for organized crime gangs.

Mark Adams from Malahide, North Co Dublin, was locked up after getting caught with €180,000 in cash at Belfast International Airport in 2018.

The sentence adds to the already five years the 42-year-old has been serving after having over €500,000 at Dublin Airport.

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Following his sentencing hearing, the National Crime Agency stated that it is suspected Adams laundered “many millions” more in cash over the years before he was caught.

Adams, who once fancied himself as a male model, was caught with €180,000 when officers intercepted him at Belfast International Airport on his way to Alicante, Spain in 2018 – but he avoided being convicted of the crime until he was extradited from the Republic last year.

At the time Border Force officers discovered more than €180,000 hidden as legally privileged documentation inside two folders in his hand luggage.

In a statement yesterday the UK’s National Crime Agency told how they dismantled his claims that he was going to a wedding on the day he was caught – discovering that he had in fact been booked on a return flight just an hour and 20 minutes after he was due to touch down in Spain.

NCA officers then uncovered that Adams, who had left his job in the police in February 2017 after a two-year career break, had taken almost 500 flights into or out of the UK in the preceding five years, often returning shortly after landing at his destination. After his arrest Adams was released on bail – but after failing to return to the North, a European Arrest Warrant was issued.

Officers then discovered that in the meantime Adams had been arrested by gardai and charged in the Republic – with four counts of money laundering.

One of those charges related to Adams pleading guilty to engaging in handling €582,045 at Dublin Airport on September 11, 2015. He also pleaded guilty to money laundering in relation to €227,130 at Bank of Ireland, Dublin Airport; €298,280 at PTSB, Main Street, Malahide and €78,990 at Bank of Ireland Credit Card Center between January 2012 and March 2017.

Judge Martin Nolan said as an airport policeman for 13 years, Adams would have been under no illusions he was aiding criminal enterprises.

For those offences Adams was to five years – but in August of 2021, gardai then transported him to Newry – as he was wanted by the NCA for the Belfast incident.

He was taken to Antrim Magistrates to be charged for the offence which he later pleaded guilty to.

Yesterday Adams was slated to 20 months in prison – and he will now serve the remainder of his time in a Northern Irish jail.

Darren Brabon, Interim Assistant Director for Northern Ireland Border Force Command, said: “The sentence handed down to Adams today is the result of hard work and dedication from Border Force, the NCA and our partners in the Republic to tackle dirty money.”

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