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A cargo vessel named MV Matthew is escorted into Cobh in Cork by the Irish Navy Niall Carson/PA Images

Third man appears in court after being charged over MV Matthew cargo ship drug seizure

He was remanded in custody to appear again at Wexford District Court via videolink on 9 October.

LAST UPDATE | 2 Oct 2023

A THIRD MAN has appeared in court after being charged in relation with the seizure of almost €160 million of cocaine on a bulk cargo ship off the coast of Ireland.

Soheil Jelveh, 50, an Iranian national of no fixed abode, appeared before Wexford District Court this morning.

Jelveh, who was referred to in court as a ship captain, was charged with being in the possession of cocaine on 24 September and further charged with being in possession of the controlled drug for the purpose of selling or supplying it in contravention of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2017 to 2019.

He was also charged with importing cocaine on 24 September in contravention of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2017-2019.

A total of 2,253kg of cocaine was found on the MV Matthew cargo ship after members of the Irish Army Ranger Wing captured the vessel off the Co Cork coast by abseiling from a helicopter earlier this week.

The Irish police service, An Garda Síochána, said the seizure was the largest in the history of the state.

Gardaí believe the cocaine, seized on the cargo ship after the dramatic military operation at sea, was destined for distribution beyond Ireland, potentially into the UK and continental Europe.

Detective Garda Liam Mangan, from the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau told the court that Jelveh was arrested at 2.21pm yesterday and charged at 3.31pm.

He said the accused had been airlifted from the cargo vessel on 25 September after reports that he was injured were received.

He had been transferred to Waterford Hospital where he was searched by gardai.

Gardaí objected to bail application from Jelveh’s solicitor Lana Doherty.

Judge John Cheatle rejected the bail application: “The allegations against the defendant are so serious and his links to the jurisdiction are so tenuous it renders bail impossible, in my mind, in this situation.”

Jelveh was remanded in custody to appear again at Wexford District Court via videolink on 9 October.

Additionally, Doherty said Jelveh did not need medical attention but asked for consideration that he receive protection in prison, which gardai agreed to.

He was also granted legal aid.

Jelveh was remanded in custody to appear again at Wexford District Court via videolink on 9 October.

A fishing trawler that grounded off the coast of Co Wexford late on Sunday was also being monitored as part of the operation, amid suspicions it was en route to rendezvous with the cargo ship.

Two men who had been winched from that vessel also appeared before Wexford District Court on Monday.

Jamie Harbron, 31, of South Avenue, Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees, UK, and 60-year-old Ukrainian national Vitaliy Lapa, of no fixed abode, were charged with conspiracy to import drugs.

Appearing via videolink, they were further remanded in custody to appear again on 16 October awaiting direction from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Five other men have been arrested in relation to the case.

One has been released without charge while the other four remain in custody.

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing. 

Press Association