Court hears accused seen on CCTV handling cocaine in €29m operation

The trial of a man accused of involvement in a €29m cocaine operation last year has heard he was seen on CCTV handling the drugs.

Abraham Shodiya, aged 44, of Carnlough Rd, Cabra, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to four charges of possessing cocaine for sale or supply and two charges of possessing cocaine at Enterprises Services Unit 1, Old Quarry Campus, North West Business Park, Ballycoolin, and Maldron Hotel, Kiltipper, on Jun 26, 2012.

Kerida Naidoo, prosecuting, told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that it is the State’s case Mr Shodiya was the “right-hand man” in the drugs operation, and that his boss was Gareth Hopkins, who has already been dealt with by the courts.

The court heard that members of the Garda National Drugs Unit had mounted a surveillance operation at the warehouse unit on Old Quarry Campus on Jun 26, 2012, acting on information that a consignment of timber containing cocaine had been shipped into Ireland the previous week.

Det Garda Rebecca Daly from the Garda National Drugs Unit told the court she observed the accused over several hours on the morning in question, via a live feed on a hidden camera in the warehouse.

She said she saw Mr Shodiya splitting open planks of wood, taking out packages containing a white substance, and then putting these packages into blue refuse sacks.

The trial also heard evidence from the owner of a Dublin forklift company, in whose shed the drugs were held overnight.

John Casserly, aged 73, said he rents a 5,000 sq m shed at Aldermere House, Westmanstown, Clonee Rd, in Dublin 15.

He said he agreed to sublet part of his shed to Mr Hopkins and Mr Shodiya, to offload a consignment of what he was told was hardwood timber.

The court heard that 430kg of cocaine had been concealed inside the wooden decking.

Mr Casserly told Blaise O’Carroll, defending, that if he had known there was €29m worth of cocaine in the consignment, he would have sent the men “down the river”.

“I have seven children, 16 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Do you think I’d have had anything to do with that? I’d be out of my mind,” he retorted in court when asked if he had been aware that the trailer contained drugs.

The trial continues.

More in this section