Taxi driver caught with possession

A Cork taxi driver was caught with €200,000 worth of cocaine in the boot of his car in the city, the gardai claimed today as he was charged with having drugs for sale or supply.

A Cork taxi driver was caught with €200,000 worth of cocaine in the boot of his car in the city, the gardai claimed today as he was charged with having drugs for sale or supply.

Patrick McCarthy (aged 33), of 13 Innishannon Road, Fairhill, Cork, was stopped at Coburg Street, Cork, last night shortly after 9 p.m. and caught with the illegal drugs in the boot of his taxi, it was alleged by Garda Donal Casey at Cork District Court.

Mr McCarthy was before the court on two charges, one of being in possession of the cocaine at Coburg Street on December 20, and the other of having the drugs for the purpose of selling or otherwise supplying to others.

Judge Uinsin MacGruairc asked to hear an outline of the alleged facts in the case.

“It is alleged that on December 20, we stopped a car being driven by the accused. During a search of the car under the Misuse of Drugs Act, it is alleged that there was two-and-a-half to three kilos of cocaine in the boot,” Garda Casey said.

Responding to a question from Judge MacGruairc, Garda Casey said the estimated street value of the cocaine was approximately €200,000. There was no garda objection to the accused being remanded on bail while directions were sought from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Judge MacGruairc set bail at €5,000 but no cash lodgement was required. Bail conditions include signing three times a week at Gurranabraher Garda Station and surrendering his passport.

Frank Buttimer, solicitor, said there was an application for free legal aid.

"This man is a taxi licence holder. I expect that occupation will not now be open to him because of the nature of circumstances,” Mr Buttimer said.

Judge MacGruairc assigned Mr Buttimer on free legal aid.

The case was adjourned until January 16 at Cork District Court.

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