Three people have been charged with drugs offences — including a woman studying on Sherkin Island — following an operation in which gardaí say drugs worth €645,000 were seized.
Helen Stone (57) appeared before Bantry District Court charged with 57 offences, including four of having drugs worth more than €13,000 for the purposes of sale or supply, and one count of selling psychoactive substances.
Ms Stone, who lives at Kilnacnappogue, Kealkil, Bantry, also faces 17 charges of possession of drugs for sale or supply, 19 charges of possession of drugs and 16 charges under Section 19 of the Misuse of Drugs Act, of allowing premises to be used for the purposes of the sale or supply of drugs.
Judge James McNulty heard evidence from Detective Garda Eoin Concannon, who said he had arrested Ms Stone at her home at 6.25am today.
The charges relate to offences alleged to have been committed between November 14th, 2018 and October 12th, 2020.
Judge McNulty observed from the charge sheets in court that the charges related to offences alleged to have taken place in three locations — Dublin, Cork City and Bantry — and related to a business trading under the name of the Funky Skunk, allegedly involving cannabis and synthetic substances.
Jack Palmer (32), of Shandon St in Cork, was charged with one count of possessing drugs with a value exceeding €13,000 for sale or supply, two counts of having drugs for sale or supply and two counts of possession of drugs.
Garda John O’Sullivan of Bantry Garda Station said he had arrested Mr Palmer at 9.33am in Wolfe Tone Square in Bantry and charged him at 9.50am at Bantry Garda Station. Mr Palmer made no reply to the charges.
Donovan Linde (31), of Ardnatrash, Glengarriff, was also charged with one count of having drugs with a value exceeding €13,000 for sale or supply, two counts of having drugs for sale or supply and two counts of possession of drugs.
Detective Garda Andrew Manning gave evidence that he had been arrested on Thursday morning and charged at Bantry Garda Station and had made no reply to the charges.
All three were released on bail but on special conditions. All three must reside at their addresses and give gardai 24 hours notice of any intention to change address, they must surrender their passports and be contactable at all times.
Solicitor for Ms Stone, Colette McCarthy, said her client was a student on a degree course on Sherkin island, which requires Ms Stone to live on the island every second weekend.
That resulted in an amendment to the initial signing on conditions as laid out by gardaí, with Ms Stone now expected to sign on in Bantry Garda Station on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in the weeks she is attending the course, and Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays on the other weeks.
Ms McCarthy also applied for legal aid, but Judge McNulty said he would need Ms Stone to file a statement of means in affidavit form, adding: “It seems like she is in business, if she has three outlets.”
Ms Stone also signed a bail bond for €10,000, no cash and no surety required.
Flor Murphy, solicitor for Mr Palmer, said his client was an electrical engineering student at Munster Technical University.
He will sign on at the Bridewell Station in Cork on Mondays and Wednesdays and at Bantry garda Station on Saturdays.
He was also asked to file a statement of means regarding his application for legal aid and was released on his own bail bond of €5,000, no cash and no surety required.
Mr Murphy also represented Mr Linde, and told the court his client was currently unemployed, having previously worked at the Funky Skunk.
He was also released on his own bail bond of €5,000, no cash and no surety required, and must sign on at Bantry garda station on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Book of evidence
Books of evidence will be prepared and Sgt Trish O’Sullivan said the DPP had consented to all three being sent forward for trial to the circuit court, or on a signed plea, should that arise.
All three will appear before court again on April 27 next when it is expected the books of evidence will be served.
Separately, Gardaí said they had seized drugs to the value of €645,000 and arrested three people following search operations in Co Cork and Co Dublin this morning.
Gardaí attached to Bantry Garda Station, Cork West Divisional Drugs Unit, and Store Street Garda Station with the assistance of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and the Department of Health, searched a number of business and residential premises in West Cork, Cork City and Dublin City and during the course of these searches, Gardaí seized €645,000 Cannabis and Cannabis-related products.
All drugs are now subject to analysis by Forensic Science Ireland.