Alleged US cocaine dealer asks for seized assets to go to ‘worthy cause’

Ex-Dell Computers employee imported high-quality cocaine, court papers claim

An alleged cocaine dealer from Texas has asked the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab) to donate the money it seized from him 19 years ago to charity.

Edward McSweeney (57), a former employee with Dell Computers, made tens of thousands importing high-quality cocaine from the United States on a monthly basis, and selling it to his ex-colleagues and in Dublin city centre pubs, according to documents presented to the High Court last week.

He was arrested and charged with drug dealing in July 2000 following a surveillance operation lead by Store Street Drug Unit. He then fled back to the US after being granted bail.

The cash seized from Mr McSweeney on his arrest, about €10,000 in today’s money, could not be forfeited to the State at the time because he was never convicted.



Following the passage of legislation in 2016 lowering the minimum amount of money which could be seized as the proceeds of crime, officers began going through old cases to check if they qualified for asset forfeiture.

They came across Mr McSweeney’s case and initiated High Court proceedings to seize the money which had been sitting in an evidence lock-up for 19 years.

Mr McSweeney, who is a native of San Antonio, Texas, was informed of the application earlier this year. He indicated he would not contest it and asked the Cab to give the cash “to a worthy cause”.

Last week the High Court agreed to a Cab application for the money to be forfeited as the proceeds of crime and appointed a receiver to take possession of it.

Under Cab rules it will be lodged into an interest bearing account where it must remain for seven more years before going to the State.

Mr McSweeney, a finance graduate, worked in the banking and sales section of Dell Computers in the US before being transferred to its Irish operation in 1998.

He realised the strength of the dollar against the punt at the time meant he could make significant profits by importing cocaine into Ireland and selling it himself to his former work colleagues, court documents allege.

He quit his job and started flying to the US once a month to purchase cocaine and smuggle it back into Ireland hidden in the false bottoms of cans of shaving cream, the Cab said.

‘Very popular’

This went on for a year before he was noticed by drug unit detectives, it was alleged. A surveillance operation was set up and detectives observed him selling cocaine in several Dublin city bars. The cocaine was later found to be particularly high quality, said a Garda source. “He was very popular.”

Gardaí arrested Mr McSweeney in his hotel in Howth, Co Dublin, in the early hours of July 15th, 2000.

He was found with cocaine worth £2,000, £7,500 in cash, a weighing scales, customer lists and other drug paraphernalia.

Mr McSweeney made extensive admissions in interview, detailing his methods and the money he had made over the previous year.

The Cab estimated he had imported £100,500 worth of cocaine and made a profit of about £60,000.

Mr McSweeney was initially remanded in custody but later released after a family member flew over from the US and paid his £10,000 bail.

He fled back to the US and currently lives in Mexico, despite several attempts by the Director of Public Prosecutions to arrange his extradition.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times