A routine Covid checkpoint in Cork resulted in a Dublin mechanic being caught carrying a €140,000 stash of cannabis herb in the back of his van.
That was the allegation made at Cork District Court where there was an objection to bail being granted to 32-year-old Thomas Gahan of Kilmahuddrick Road, Clondalkin, Dublin.
Garda Ray O’Brien arrested Gahan and brought him before the court on charges of possession of cannabis and having the illegal drug for the purpose of selling or supplying to others.
One of the allegations made by Garda O’Brien in the course of his bail objection was that Gahan had given him a false name and details.
He alleged that the defendant gave the name of a relative and supplied a number of details such as address and date of birth that tallied with the false name which he had given.
Defence solicitor, Eddie Burke, asked Thomas Gahan about the allegation that he had given false information in relation to his identity – something with which he is not charged. Gahan said he panicked.
Cross-examined by Sergeant Gearóid Davis the defendant was asked if he agreed with Garda O’Brien’s accounts of their interactions and he said he did agree.
Asked about the allegation that he had given a false name, he said, “It was pure panic.
However, he said that when he woke up the following morning in the garda station he said one of the detectives referred to him by the false name he had given, and Gahan said he immediately gave his correct name at the gardaí.
Garda O’Brien also said that the young man told them that he previously had a cocaine addiction but that this was in the past and he was now an occasional user.
Judge Olann Kelleher summarised the evidence he had heard, including the seizure of €140,000 worth of cannabis and the giving of false name and details, and he refused the bail application.
He remanded the accused in custody until March 31.
The checkpoint that gave rise to the charges was on the M8 at Killydonoghue in Glanmire and the defendant was stopped driving his van at 8.20pm on Tuesday March 23.
Garda O’Brien said the seriousness of the offence – which carries a maximum sentence up to life imprisonment – was one of the grounds for the objection to bail.
Another one of the grounds for objection was the nature and strength of evidence.
It was alleged that his vehicle was searched at the scene and a large amount of suspected cannabis herb with a street value of €140,000 was found in the rear of the van.
Gahan said he would abide by an bail conditions such as curfew or signing on twice a day.
He said he had been promoted to the position of mobile mechanic and was on the road in a company van. He said he had been employed full time with this company for the past two years.