Man charged over €1.36m worth of cannabis found in orange shipment

Dawid Zajac (38) appeared before Dublin District Court, charged with unlawful possession of cannabis for sale or supply following a multi-agency operation
Man charged over €1.36m worth of cannabis found in orange shipment

Tom Tuite

A warehouse worker has been charged after gardaí uncovered €1.36 million worth of cannabis shipped to Ireland from Spain in a container load of oranges.

Father of three Dawid Zajac (38), with an address at Galtrim, Summerhill, Co Meath, was charged with unlawful possession of cannabis on March 31st and that he had it for sale or supply at Cornstown, Ashbourne, Co Dublin.

It followed an operation by officers attached to the Revenue Customs Service, the Garda National Drugs, the Organised Crime Bureau, Coolock and Raheny District Drugs Units and the Meath Divisional Drugs Unit.

Mr Zajac, who is originally from Poland but has been living in Ireland for 16 years, appeared before Judge Treasa Kelly at Dublin District Court on Monday.

Bail was set in his bond of €20,000, half of which must be lodged, and an independent surety with €20,000 must be approved.

He was remanded in custody until it is taken up and will face his next hearing on Thursday at Cloverhill District Court.

Detective Garda Paula Carter told the court the accused made "no reply" to the charges, and she objected to bail due to the seriousness of the case.

She told the contested bail hearing the drugs had been concealed "in crates of oranges shipped from Spain to Dublin Port".

She alleged the accused paid customs fees of €5,000 for a container to be released from the port and that he was in the warehouse when a logistics company delivered the crates. She also told the court he helped off-load the shipment.

It was also alleged that Mr Zajac had an invoice for the shipment on his phone.

The detective agreed with defence solicitor Jenny McGeever that the accused did not have the trappings of wealth and that his phone and passport had been seized.

She accepted he lived with his partner and children, was in receipt of the Housing Assistance Payment, and had the presumption of innocence.

Directions from the Director of Public Prosecution are awaited, the court heard.

Mr Zajac told the court he would abide by bail conditions and said he had only left Ireland twice since 2007.

Pleading for bail, Ms McGeever said her client has lived at the same address for four years and has "strong roots" here.

Describing it as a "substantial matter", the judge held that bail with conditions could be granted.

On taking up bail, the accused must sign on daily at Trim Garda station, remain contactable by phone, and notify gardaí of any address change.

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