News Courts

Tuesday 20 March 2018

'Pawn' guilty in €29m cocaine case

Abraham Shodiya: awaiting sentence
Abraham Shodiya: awaiting sentence

Aoife Nic Ardghail and Sonya McLean

A father of four has been convicted for his involvement in a €29m cocaine operation.

Abraham Shodiya (44), of Carnlough Road, Cabra, Dublin, had pleaded 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.

The jury at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court took almost three hours to convict the man unanimously on all six charges on day 11 of the trial. Judge Desmond Hogan remanded Shodiya adjourned the case to next month for sentence.

A former property development manager jailed for importing €29m of cocaine had told the jury Shodiya was a "pawn".

Gareth Hopkins (34) said he had organised the timber shipment containing cocaine through his company in Bolivia and Shodiya was "simply acting as a pawn, a puppet or a gillie".

Hopkins said he grew to trust Shodiya as a "conscientious" employee who "followed instructions very well".

He got him to collect a container as it was being delivered in Dublin, which contained cocaine-packed timber. Hopkins said he didn't know his SOS Recycling employee had seen him remove drugs from a plank in the consignment.

The jury saw Shodiya break down in a video-taped garda interview, as he described how he saw "white stuff" concealed inside the planks and asked himself: "What is this guy (Hopkins) up to?"

Detective Garda Oliver Hackett asked him if he would agree that he was "thrown into the sea with the sharks?" Shodiya nodded and broke down again. He revealed he hadn't known his boss was into "shady business".

Shodiya described in interview how he helped unload drugs from the container through the night. He was then instructed to drive a trailer with a pallet of the drugs to an industrial estate and later go to Belgard Road in Tallaght with four packages from a plank.

Shodiya was delivering the first batch of cocaine when gardai stopped and arrested him

Hopkins said in evidence that he had Shodiya transport the drugs because he had to drop his daughter to her dance class.

Gardai had mounted a surveillance operation at the warehouse unit on Old Quarry Campus on June 26, 2012.

Detective Garda Rebecca Daly said she observed Shodiya over several hours that morning via a live feed on a hidden camera in the warehouse.

She saw him split open wooden planks, remove white-substance packages and put them into blue refuse sacks.

John Casserly (73), the owner of a Dublin forklift company who agreed to sublet part of his shed to Hopkins and Shodiya, said he would have sent the men "down the river" had he known the real nature of their business.

Irish Independent

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