A 36-year-old aviation broker appeared before Dublin District Court today charged in connection with last week’s seizure of €10m of heroin at a small airport in Belgium.
Gardaí objected to John Kinsella, with an address at Cairn Wood, Johnstown, Navan, Co Meath, being released on bail due to the seriousness of the charges and his involvement in the aviation business.
Mr Kinsella, who was a former national super heavyweight-boxing champion, was charged with conspiracy to import controlled drugs.
Garda Peter Gilligan told the Bridewell District Court he charged Mr Kinsella at 5.18pm yesterday in Clondalkin Garda Station.
The court heard he was cautioned and charged and had nothing to say. Mr Kinsella was arrested at Weston Aerodrome in Kildare at 5.25pm last Tuesday.
Garda Gilligan said Mr Kinsella had an intricate knowledge of the aviation industry and many contacts within it.
“As well as that he is a man who has access to a private jet and indeed owned one,” he said.
The garda said driving licences were found in Mr Kinsella’s residence which he believed were forged.
The court heard Mr Kinsella had access to a property in Thailand, a number of bank accounts in Bangkok and considerable assets.
Garda Gilligan, from the Garda National Drugs Unit, said: “A file in this matter is being completed involving assistance from a number of European countries, including Dutch, Belgium and UK authorities.”
He told the court controls regarding passenger jets exiting the state from private airfields were lax.
“It is my belief it is quite possible for a person who has access to private jets to leave the country at will, without knowledge,” he said.
Mr Kinsella told the courts he did not have access to aeroplanes as he has signed over shareholding in the company he was involved in.
Mr Kinsella said an aircraft which gardaí were alleging he owned actually belonged to another company and was in France undergoing heavy maintenance.
The accused said he had taken pilot exams but had not passed a practical and did not have a pilot’s licence. He said he had around 100 hours flying experience of light aircraft and admitted he had travelled along with other business passengers on private jets but said his name would still be on the records.
Mr Kinsella said he was a chartered broker and if somebody wanted to rent an aircraft they would come to him.
Mr Kinsella was one of five people arrested in Dublin, Belgium and Holland following the seizure of 50 kilos of heroin which were found in the luggage of a passenger as he tried to board an Irish private jet at an airport in Southern Belgium.
The jet had flown to Belgium from Weston Airport in Kildare.
Judge Cormac Dunne reserved judgment on whether Mr Kinsella would be granted bail until 2pm.