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Irish ‘mobster’ John Gilligan, 71, avoids jail for ‘smuggling cannabis in flip flop shipments’ after securing plea bargain deal on Spain’s Costa Blanca – Olive Press News Spain

Irish 'mobster' John Gilligan, 71, avoids jail for 'smuggling cannabis in flip flop shipments' after securing plea bargain deal on Spain's Costa Blanca - Olive Press News Spain

Irish mobster John Gilligan avoided jail on Monday after agreeing a plea bargain with prosecutors over drug trafficking and gun possession charges.

The same arrangement applies to seven of his associates who appeared before a Torrevieja judge.

Other defendants included Gilligan’s son, Darren, 47, who skipped Spain last autumn – forcing two trial postponements – but was extradited in July.

The Policia Nacional raided homes in the Torrevieja and Orihuela Costa areas in October 2020.

The gang faced drug offences and charges of belonging to a criminal organisation, while Gilligan, 71, had an extra charge of weapon possession after a gun was found in his villa’s garden.

John Gilligan was accused of masterminding an operation to smuggle cannabis and powerful sleeping-pills to his native Ireland in consignments of flip-flops.

The three-day trial ended before it started on Monday when judge Francisco Ruiz-Jabado was informed about the plea bargain deal and asked all of the defendants if they understood the terms.

Despite prosecutors wanting John Gilligan jailed for over eight years, the deal gives him a 22-month suspended sentence and fines amounting to around €14,000.

The rest of Gilligan’s crew each got suspended 18-month prison sentences as opposed to original demands for nearly seven years behind bars- those benefiting include his son Darren and close friend ‘Fat’ Tony Armstrong.

Gilligan spent 17 years in an Irish jail before being freed in 2013 after he was convicted of running a large-scale drug trafficking gang in the nineties that netted over €35 million.

He was acquitted in 1996 for the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin with associate Brian Meehan receiving a life sentence for the killing.

The whole matter is not totally closed as Gilligan’s girlfriend Sharon Oliver is scheduled to appear before the court via a video-link on Tuesday as she is in a UK hospital.

She is not part of any plea deal and has insisted on her innocence.

This content was originally published here.