The trial of a man accused of involvement in a €29 million cocaine operation last year has heard that he was seen on live CCTV handling the drugs.
Abraham Shodiya (44) of Carnlough Road, Cabra has pleaded not (NOT) guilty to four charges of possessing cocaine for sale or supply and two charges of possessing cocaine at Enterprises Services Unit 1, Old Quarry Campus, North West Business Park, Ballycoolin and Maldron Hotel, Kiltipper on June 26, 2012.
Kerida Naidoo BL, prosecuting, told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that it is the State's case that Mr Shodiya was the “right-hand man” in the drugs operation, and that his boss was Gareth Hopkins, who has already been dealt with by the courts.
The court heard that members of the Garda National Drugs Unit had mounted a surveillance operation at the warehouse unit on Old Quarry Campus on 26 June, 2012 acting on information that a consignment of timber containing cocaine had been shipped into Ireland the previous week.
Detective Garda Rebecca Daly from the Garda National Drugs Unit told the court she observed the accused over several hours on the morning in question, via a live feed on a hidden camera in the warehouse.
She said she saw Mr Shodiya splitting open planks of wood, taking out packages containing a white substance and then putting these packages into blue refuse sacks.
Gda Daly said Mr Shodiya would take a plank from a black-shrink wrapped package, bring it to a work bench, split it open, take out the packages, put them into bags, clear the wood away from the area and then repeat the process.
The trial also heard evidence from the owner of a Dublin forklift company, in whose shed the drugs were held overnight.
John Casserly (73) said he rents a 5,000 square metre shed at Aldermere House, Westmanstown, Clonee Road in Dublin 15.
He said he agreed to sublet part of his shed to Mr Hopkins and Mr Shodiya, to offload a consignment of what he was told was hardwood timber.
The court heard that 430 kilogrammes of cocaine had been concealed inside the wooden decking which had been shipped in a container into Dublin Port on 18 June, 2012.
Mr Casserly told Blaise O'Carroll SC, defending, that if he had known there was €29 million worth of cocaine in the consignment, he would have sent the men “down the river.”
“I have seven children, 16 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Do you think I'd have had anything to do with that? I'd be out of my mind,” he retorted in court when asked if he had been aware that the trailer contained drugs.
Mr Casserly said Mr Hopkins told him the timber was “rosewood, top-of-the-range, decking” imported from the Middle East.
Mr Casserly said the timber arrived at his shed on 19 June, was off-loaded and then taken away in a trailer the following day.
He said he offered to help Mr Hopkins and Mr Shodiya offload the timber but that they refused and said they would get three or four others to help them later that night.
Mr Casserly said he gave them the key to the premises and the code for the gate, and that the following day, Mr Hopkins told him that they had been there until 4am offloading the timber.
He said he had known Mr Hopkins since he sold him a 40ft trailer some months before.
Mr Casserly said he “nearly died” when he got a call from gardaí a few days later and went to his yard to see a dozen policemen, customs officers and sniffer dogs.
The trial continues before Judge Desmond Hogan and a jury of nine men and three women.