Two men charged over a seizure of €8 million worth of heroin allegedly flown into Dublin’s Weston Airport last week have been remanded in custody.
A court heard one of them claimed he thought he was carrying “special material” for making microchips, and the other said he was forced.
Officers with the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) and the Revenue Customs Service monitored a light aircraft, intercepted a vehicle as part of an investigation, and arrested two men.
The plane was searched, and an estimated 60kg of heroin was found, making it the largest seizure of heroin in Ireland this year.
Aradi Ignac (49) of Kecskemet, Hungary and alleged pilot Zoltan Nemeth (62) from Sukosd, Hungary, were detained under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2006, at Leixlip Garda station.
GNDOCB detectives charged them on Sunday.
They made no application for bail when they appeared before Judge Treasa Kelly at Dublin District Court on Monday.
Each man is accused of unlawful possession of heroin and possessing it with intent to supply at Weston Airport, Co Dublin, on December 1st.
Detective Garda Marguerite Reilly told Judge Kelly that when she charged Mr Ignac he replied: “I took it because I was forced to and not because I wanted to, and for my family’s safety”.
His solicitor Matthew Byrne, said there was no application for bail at this stage.
Detective Garda Mark O’Neill said that Mr Nemeth’s reply to the charge was, “We didn’t speak about drugs; he told me it was special metal or material for making microchips. I never used drugs; I hate drugs.”
Barrister Sarah Connolly said Mr Nemeth was reserving his position and not making a bail application at this point.
Both men, who listened to the proceedings with the aid of an interpreter, were remanded in custody and will appear via video link on Friday at Cloverhill District Court. Judge Kelly told them to give gardaí 24 hours’ notice if they intend to move bail applications.
Legal aid was granted. Mr Byrne said his client had been working but had no fixed address in Ireland and was now unemployed.
Counsel said her client, Mr Nemeth, a married father of one, was retired and no longer entitled to his Hungarian pension in Ireland.
Statements of their means were also handed into court, and there was no Garda objection to legal aid. Directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions need to be obtained.
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