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Tragumna Beach, County Cork. Alamy Stock Photo
Cork

Ten men appear in courts across Co Cork charged with drug importation 'conspiracy'

The men were arrested last Thursday in various locations in West Cork as gardaí were conducting an operation near Skibbereen.

LAST UPDATE | 21 Mar

GARDAÍ HAVE CHARGED ten men arrested in an alleged organised crime operation with conspiracy to import a large amount of drugs.

The men were arrested last Thursday in various locations in West Cork as gardaí were conducting an operation at Tragumna Beach, near Skibbereen in County Cork. 

The accused, from Fermanagh, Spain, Serbia and the Netherlands, were detained for the maximum seven days under anti-organised crime legislation.

The men were brought in groups to three different courts across County Cork earlier today. 

The accused were all charged under Section 71 of the Criminal Justice Act which deals with conspiracy to commit a serious offence. The charge alleges that they were working to import drugs worth in excess of €13,000 between 27 February and 14 March.

The first two men appeared in Midleton District Court. Garda Brendan McGarry gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution for Antonio Gallardo Barrofo, who is also known as Juan Antonio Gallardo (56) with an address at Turine Street, Cadiz Spain.

He replied after charge: “I don’t belong to any criminal organisation and I have never taken part in drug smuggling”.

Garda Anthony Finn gave evidence of arrest charge and caution for the second man, a Serbian national Alexander Milic, 26, with an address at Sbetorgorska in Belgrade. He made no reply after caution.

Both men were remanded in custody to appear via video link on 26 March next. 

Separately at Bandon District Court, four men were charged with the same offence of conspiracy to import drugs into the state.

The four men are Ali Mazidi, 49, a Dutch national with Iranian links; Sean Curran, 37, from the Northern Ireland; Kiumaars Ghaibiri, 51, a Dutch national; and Mario Angel Del Rio Sanz. 

Det Garda Shannon Ryan gave evidence of arrest charge and caution for Mazidi, who has an address in the Netherlands. The court heard that he told gardai that he understood the charge, stating “yes, what you tell me”, but had no other comment to make.

In a legal application to the court his solicitor described him as a self-employed coffee distributor.

Garda Sean O’Connor gave evidence of charging Del Rio Sanz and he made no reply when the charge was put to him with an interpreter present.

Det Garda Catherine McCarthy gave evidence of charging Sean Curran, who has an address at Carrickyheenan, Aughnacloy, Enniskillen, Fermanagh. The court was told he made no reply when charged.

Garda Eoin Concannon of Bantry Garda Station gave evidence of how he charged Kiumaars Ghabiri. The court was told Ghabiri was working as a chef at a restaurant in Rotterdam, and is divorced and who has a partner who is not working. 

Legal aid in all cases was backdated to last Friday, when the men were first detained for questioning, and all four were remanded in custody to appear before Bantry District Court at noon next Wednesday, March 27.

Four Spanish men appeared before Cork District Court charged with the same offence as in Midleton and Bandon.

Judge Mary Dorgan remanded all four accused in custody to appear at Cork District Court again on 27 March next by video link. The men can only apply for bail in the High Court.

Det Garda Kate Gilligan of the Garda National Drugs Unit gave evidence of the arrest, charge and caution of Angel Serran Padilla, (39) of Malaga in Spain – his reply after caution was, “okay.”

Defence solicitor, Eddie Burke, said that his client was hospitalised during the seven day detention period. He asked that the medical issues of Mr Padilla be brought to the attention of the prison Governor. Judge Dorgan directed that Mr Padilla get all necessary medical attention whilst in custody.

Pedro Padio Ojeda Ortega (35) of Cadiz in Spain was the second man to appear before the court. Det Garda Mark Donovan of the Garda National Drugs Unit gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution. The accused made no reply.

The third man before the court was Raul Garcia Taberes (48) of Cadiz in Spain. Det Garda Robert Kennedy said he made no reply after caution.

Anuar Rahui (41) of Marbella, Malaga in Spain was the last of the men to appear before the Cork District Court.

Det Garda Dermot Crowley said Rahui made no reply when the charge was put to him.

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Author
Niall O'Connor, Noel Baker and Oliva Kelleher