Diamond mine director admits €29m drug charge
THE director of a diamond mining company has admitted possession of €29m worth of cocaine.
Gareth Hopkins (33) pleaded guilty to possession of the drug for sale or supply at Ballycoolin, west Dublin and at Beech, Leixlip, Co Kildare, on June 26, 2012.
About 400kg of cocaine were seized during a joint operation by gardai and customs officers in what was the biggest inland cocaine find ever made in Ireland.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court previously heard that Hopkins, with addresses at Carnlough Road, Cabra, and Leixlip, was director of a recycling company, a diamond mining company in Sierra Leone and had interests in a Polish tobacco company.
Gardai had claimed in the District Court that he was involved in the large-scale importation of cocaine from South America, which was shipped to Ireland hidden inside lengths of timber.
They also alleged Hopkins was responsible for the storage and distribution of the drug, as well as extracting the cocaine from the wood.
Yesterday, Judge Mary Ellen Ring remanded him in custody until sentencing in May.
Hopkins was previously refused bail after gardai argued he was a flight risk.
It is understood that he only came to the notice of gardai earlier in 2012 when they began the operation that led to the massive drugs haul.