Thursday 22 March 2018

Woman and 17 men in court on drugs charges following series of garda operations

Stock picture
Stock picture

Andrew Phelan

A WOMAN and 17 men have appeared in court in Dublin on charges following operations aimed at tackling the supply of drugs in three counties.

The 18 accused were among 54 people brought to court today following a series of arrests under three separate operations in Blanchardstown, Cavan town and Portlaoise.

The accused were arrested on different dates this month and bailed on charges of selling or supplying a range of drugs.

At Blanchardstown District Court, Judge David McHugh remanded the 18 on continuing bail to appear in court again on dates in April.

The defendants, aged in their 20s to their 40s, were all charged with possession of drugs with intent to sell or supply in west Dublin. The charges are under Section 15 of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Gardai gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution of the defendants after their detention at Blanchardstown and Finglas stations.

The court heard none of the accused replied to the charges when they were put to them.

Most of them are unemployed and all were granted free legal aid following applications by their lawyers, with no objections by the gardai.

Their cases were adjourned for the directions of the DPP to be made available and analysis of the drugs that are alleged to have been seized.

This will determine the value of the drugs alleged and whether the cases can remain at district court level, or if they will have to be sent forward to the circuit court.

The defendants are charged with possession of drugs including cocaine, cannabis and tablets.

None of the accused addressed the court during their brief hearings.

A 19th defendant is a juvenile and was due to be brought before the Children’s Court today.

The arrests were made under Operation Rhea, a garda initiative aimed at tackling the networks that supply drugs in the area.

A similar operation, named Sarto, was conducted in Cavan Town with 19 people due before the local court today.

Operation Nero was conducted in Portlaoise and 16 offenders were to be brought before Portlaoise District Court.

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