A Polish national accused of having €1.4m worth of cocaine in Cork city centre had a change of mind today and pleaded guilty to having the drugs for sale or supply.
When Marius Baran, aged 35, from Pila, Michalowskiego, Poland, was arraigned yesterday at Cork Circuit Criminal Court he pleaded not guilty to three drugs charges arising out of the incident.
A jury of seven men and five women was sworn in to hear the case. It was not possible to start the trial because of other business being conducted in court yesterday.
However, when the case came before the court for trial today, defence senior counsel Tim O’Leary asked to have Baran re-arraigned on the most serious charge on the indictment.
Baran then pleaded guilty to the charge of being in possession of the illegal drug for the purpose of sale or supply to others at Grand Parade, Cork, on Tuesday afternoon, May 10, 2005, where the street value was €13,000 or more.
€13,000 is the amount of drugs set by statute for the application of a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years and up to live in prison.
The sentence can be reduced by the judge in exceptional circumstances. Judge Patrick J. Moran adjourned sentencing until next Tuesday, February 21. Baran has been in custody since he was arrested on the afternoon of the offence.
When he was before Cork District Court at that time it was alleged that he had €1.4m worth of cocaine concealed inside panels of the car.
Detective Inspector Tom Myers said at that time: “It is the State’s case that he was caught red-handed. Twenty kilos of cocaine, the size of twenty bags of sugar were concealed in the vehicle, quite professionally in the panels.”
Judge Moran remanded Baran in continuing custody until next Tuesday.