Saturday 16 December 2017

Two men appear before court charged in connection to €500k cocaine seizure

Criminal Courts of Justice
Criminal Courts of Justice

Andrew Phelan

TWO unemployed men have appeared in court on drugs charges following the seizure of nearly €500,000 worth of cocaine in Dublin.

Thomas Knowles (55) and Mark McHugh (34) were brought before Dublin District Court this afternoon after they were arrested by gardai from the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

Seizures were made at two locations yesterday and the court heard Mr Knowles’ charges relate to an alleged €490,000 worth of cocaine while Mr McHugh is charged in relation to an alleged €70,000 worth of the drug.

Judge Michael Walsh granted them bail but remanded them in custody until they are able to take it up.

Mr Knowles, of Knockriada, Old Lucan Road, Chapelizod and Mr McHugh of Woodhaven, Clondalkin, are both charged with possession of cocaine with intent to sell or supply at Kylemore Road, Ballyfermot on April 9.

Mr Knowles is also charged with another count of the same charge at his home address.

Det Gda John Paul Carroll said he arrested Mr Knowles at Ballyfermot Garda Station and he made no reply to the charges after caution.

He objected to bail based on the seriousness of the charges and the amount of cocaine seized, which he said was 7kg, worth in the region of €490,000.

He alleged Mr Knowles was “caught red-handed” and that the evidence was very strong.

Applying for bail, solicitor Niall O’Connor said Mr Knowles was a plasterer who was out of work due to health difficulties and was in receipt of disability benefit.

He was divorced and had three grown up children.

Mr O’Connor said Mr Knowles was not a flight risk and would not ordinarily come to garda attention.

“He would not be a man of any means whatsoever,” Mr O’Connor said.

Detective Garda Aisling Hobbs said Mr McHugh also made no reply when charged and she had similar bail objections. She said the value of drugs in his case was €70,000, and alleged he was also “caught red-handed.”

Mr McHugh was a married father-of-three and his wife and his father were in court. A sum of €1,000 in cash was available for bail and a credit union account could be frozen at €1,800, his solicitor said.

Judge Walsh set bail in Mr Knowles’ case in his own bond of €10,000, of which €2,5000 is to be lodged in cash. The judge required a €15,000 independent surety, with €5,000 of that in cash.

The judge set Mr McHugh’s own bail in the same amount but with an independent surety of €10,000, of which €2,500 must be lodged.

Other conditions are that they sign on at garda stations, surrender their passports and are contactable by phone 24 hours a day.

They were both remanded in custody with consent to bail to appear in Cloverhill District Court on April 17.

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