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John Gilligan's son Darren volunteers to authorities in Spain to face drug trafficking charge

The 47-year-old is wanted for three alleged offences in the region of Murcia in southern Spain.

DARREN GILLIGAN, SON of notorious convicted drug dealer John Gilligan, has volunteered to be surrendered to Spain where he is wanted for allegedly trafficking cannabis and sleeping pills as part of an international crime network, the High Court has heard.

Gilligan (47) is wanted for three alleged offences in the region of Murcia in southern Spain after a judge there issued a European Arrest Warrant for him on 10 October 2022.

Gilligan faces up to four years imprisonment if convicted. When arrested by gardaí, he denied the charges, saying he had been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

At an extradition hearing at the High Court today, Simon Matthews BL, for the Minister for Justice, said Gilligan is accused of trafficking in illicit drugs and psychotropic substances, participating in a criminal organisation and an offence against public health referring to medicines.

The charge regarding public health relates to postal packages of the medicines Datolan, Zoplicone and Limovan, which are all sleeping tablets that under Spanish law cannot be placed on a market without authority.

The maximum length of imprisonment under Spanish law is four years for the alleged public health offence, two years for the alleged drug trafficking, and ten months for the alleged participation in a criminal organisation.

The European Arrest Warrant states that the Murcia National Police Force was investigating “a network of people dedicated to the distribution of narcotic substances in the Alicante area” and carried out surveillance, monitoring operations and phone tapping of suspects between July 2019 and February 2021.

The warrant alleges that one of the people who made up the network was Gilligan, who, it claims, took part in the shipment of hashish and cannabis, as well as medicines without authority, posting them through a parcel company to Ireland.

The warrant alleges that telephone tapping and surveillance revealed that on 29 September 2020, Gilligan and another defendant went to Los Dolores and Catral post offices to send packages of cannabis worth €3,468 to Ireland.

It further alleges that on 1 and 2 October that Gilligan attempted to send three packages from post offices at Pilar de la Horadada, San Pedro del Pinatar and Santiago de la Ribera that contained the sleeping pills.

The warrant also claims that after being intercepted at a petrol station at Torrevieja by police, two packages containing €3,582 worth of marijuana buds were seized. That seizure led to a search of a Spanish address attributed to Gilligan where 23 Zoplicone pills and a vacuum-packaging machine were seized, the warrant states.

At the High Court today, Gilligan confirmed to his barrister, Mark Lynam BL, that he was surrendering to Spanish authorities after taking legal advice and that it was his own decision to do so.

Gilligan confirmed to Lynam that he had a flight booked to go to Spain to attend court when he was arrested here by gardaí in April on foot of a European alert through the Schengen Information System.

The accused told Lynam that he was aware of the consequences of surrendering to the Spanish authorities.

Gilligan asked Mr Justice Kerida Naidoo “when am I going?” and was told by the judge that his extradition would be inside 20 days and that he would remain on bail until surrendered.

“Thank you, judge,” said Gilligan.

Lynam made an application for his client to remain on bail which was not opposed by Matthews who said that there had been no issues with Gilligan while on bail.

Last month, Gilligan was granted bail by the High Court despite Garda objections.

The High Court previously heard that Detective Sergeant Adrian Murray arrested Gilligan in west Dublin on 12 April.

When asked if he knew what the Spanish allegations were about, the 47-year-old replied “yes” and that it came “from being in the wrong place at the wrong time over nothing I done.”