Two men charged over drug seizure

 

TWO MEN were remanded in custody yesterday after they were charged following one of the biggest drug hauls ever in Ireland in police operations in Co Kildare and west Dublin.

Dublin man Garret Hopkins (32) and Abraham Shodiya (42), originally from Nigeria, were charged at Blanchardstown District Court after cocaine believed to be worth more than €250 million was seized in raids during a joint operation by gardaí and Customs officers on Tuesday.

Gardaí had seized a vehicle with about 50kg of cocaine in the Tallaght area.

In follow-up searches in west Dublin and Kildare, officers recovered a further quantity of cocaine believed to weigh more than 300kg.

Mr Hopkins, of Beech Park, Leixlip, Co Kildare, but originally from Carnlough Road, Cabra, Dublin, and Mr Shodiya, with an address at Carnlough Road, Cabra, are charged with possession of cocaine for sale or supply at Northwest Business Park, Ballycoolin, Dublin, on June 26th.

Mr Shodiya also faced an additional charge for the same offences at the Maldron hotel car park in Tallaght, Dublin, on the same date.

Det Garda Damien O’Farrell told Judge Brendan Toale that he arrested Mr Shodiya at Clondalkin Garda station at 9.26am yesterday.

Mr Shodiya made “no reply” to any of the charges after he was cautioned, the court was told.

Emer O’Sullivan, solicitor for Mr Shodiya, told the court she was not making any bail application and said her client was applying for legal aid.

She provided the court with a statement of his finances and agreed to the application being deferred while gardaí investigate his means.

The judge deferred the legal aid application for Mr Shodiya, who remained silent during the proceedings.

Det Eoin Roche of the Garda National Drugs Unit told the court that he had arrested Mr Hopkins at Clondalkin Garda station at 10.32am yesterday under section 4 of the Criminal Law Act.

Mr Hopkins was charged about 20 minutes later and he also made no reply after caution. His lawyer said no application for bail or legal aid was being made.

Mr Hopkins did not address the court during the brief hearing yesterday.

The judge remanded both men, who have not yet indicated how they will plead to the charges, in custody to appear again at Cloverhill District Court on July 5th next.

A third man was still in Garda custody yesterday in connection with the cocaine haul, the third-biggest seizure of illegal drugs ever made by Irish authorities.

Gardaí believe the drugs were most likely bound for the much bigger UK drugs market.