Wednesday 21 March 2018

Two men charged over record €250m drugs haul remanded in custody

Tom Tuite

TWO men were remanded in custody today after they were charged over what is believed to have been the biggest ever drug seizure on Irish soil.

Dublin man Garret Hopkins (32) and Nigerian Abraham Shodiya (42) were charged at Blanchardstown District Court after cocaine believed to be worth in excess of €250m was seized in raids – during a joint operation by Gardai and customs officers – on Tuesday.

Gardai had seized a vehicle with approximately 50 kilograms of cocaine in the Tallaght area. In follow up searches in the west Dublin and Kildare, officers recovered a further quantity of cocaine believed to be in excess of 300 kilograms in weight.

Mr. Hopkins of Beechpark, 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 North West Business Park, Ballycoolin, in Dublin, on June 26.

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

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

He made “no reply” to any of the charges after he was cautioned, the court heard. Emer O'Sullivan, solicitor for Mr Shodiya, told the court that she was not making any bail application and she 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 Gardai investigated his means.

Judge Toale deferred the legal aid application for Mr Shodiya who was wearing a hoodie and jeans and remained silent during the proceedings.

Detective Eoin Roche of the Garda National Drugs Unit told the court he arrested Mr Hopkins today morning at 10.32 at Clondalkin Garda station 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 was wearing a grey hooded jacket with an open neck blue shirt and navy jeans; he did not address the court during the brief hearing.

Judge Toale 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 5 next.

A third man was still in Garda custody today in connection with the cocaine haul

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