A Nigerian national who acted as a courier to transport nearly €500,000 worth of cocaine concealed in a child’s seat and cereal boxes from Dublin to England has been jailed for six years.
David O’Keke (aged 40) with an address at Mill Road, Colchester, England pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of 6.759 kilograms of cocaine valued at €473,158 at Dublin Port on March 9, 2010.
Detective Garda Peter Nestor told Mr James Dwyer BL, prosecuting, that as part of a surveillance operation set up by Customs and Excise at Dublin Port, O’Keke was observed driving from a ferry to an apartment at Royal Canal Park in Dublin.
“He was being constantly observed by gardai and customs officials as he was on their radar,” Det Gda Nestor said.
“He was seen at the apartments carrying two suitcases and putting them into the boot of his car,” Det Gda Nestor said.
“Another man was seen placing a child’s seat into the back of the car and O’Keke drove the car to the Stena compound at Dublin Port.”
His car was stopped and searched and a number of packages of cocaine were found in the lining of the child’s seat.
A further amount of cocaine was found concealed in two cereal boxes and in a dishwasher tablets box which were located in the boot of the car.
O’Keke, who has no previous convictions, was arrested at the scene and told gardaí that he had come to Ireland from London to bring back clothes and a child’s seat for friends of his.
He then admitted he “presumed it was drugs” he was transporting as he was told he would be paid €1,000 to make the collection and deliver the items to someone in London.
Mr Erwan Mill-Arden SC, defending, said O’Keke did have a suspicion it was drugs he was bringing to England but did not know what type of drugs.
Det Gda Nestor agreed with Mr Mill-Arden that O’Keke was genuinely remorseful and that it was on a once-off basis.
Judge Patrick McCartan remarked that customs personnel had O’Keke on their radar and “had him down as someone to keep an eye on.”
“He accepts his role as a courier on behalf of others but no doubt he was essential to the operation and this is a serious matter,” said Judge McCartan.
“It seems he did this out of greed in the hope of making easy money,” he added.