Second-hand clothing business in Cork ‘used as front for drug distribution’

A second-hand clothing business in Ringaskiddy was being used as a front for a major drug distribution business, it was alleged on Wednesday
Second-hand clothing business in Cork ‘used as front for drug distribution’
Cork District Court

A second-hand clothing business in Ringaskiddy was being used as a front for a major drug distribution business, it was alleged on Wednesday.

Detective Garda Eoin O’Toole brought four fresh charges against Vytautas Balcytis, with an address at Ferndale, Navan, Co Meath.

This followed a surveillance operation conducted by gardaí at Cork City Divisional Drugs Unit.

Balcytis was charged with possession of Diamorphine (heroin) and MDMA (ecstasy) and having those drugs for sale or supply. He was charged earlier with having cocaine and possessing the drugs for sale or supply.

As well as those three different kinds of drugs, it was alleged that a fake version of the anti-depressant Xanax, was also seized, and that these tablets had a value up to €100,000.

The other drugs had a value of over €90,000, it was alleged, as follows: €60,000 heroin; €14,000 ecstasy; and €17,000 cocaine.

“A surveillance operation was put in place in relation to activities at Ring Port, Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, where it is alleged that a second-hand clothes company was a front for a major drug distribution business,” said Det O’Toole.

The detective objected to bail being granted to the accused at Cork District Court today. An application was made through free legal aid defence solicitor Eddie Burke.

The detective said the stash of drugs was seized following a search of a motor van for which the defendant allegedly had a key.

“He was caught red-handed and arrested at this location,” Det Gda O’Toole testified.

“I also believe he may commit further serious offences, due to his activities while under surveillance, the quantity and nature of the substances, and the degree of seriousness of the offences for which he was apprehended.”

Mr Burke, solicitor, said the defendant had been granted bail on Sunday on the cocaine charges when reference was made to all of the drugs, for which he had not then been charged.

The solicitor suggested that the prosecution was “judge-shopping” by returning to court with fresh charges arising out of the same case and objecting to bail.

Mr Burke said little had changed for his client from Sunday when he was remanded in custody with consent to bail on the two cocaine charges, other than that he was now charged with four more charges arising out of the same circumstances.

Mr Burke submitted to Judge Olann Kelleher that gardaí were “changing the goalposts” in that they had put all the facts before another district judge on Sunday and Mr Balcytis had obtained bail — but now they were after bringing new charges.

Judge Kelleher said that he accepted that Mr Balcytis had got bail from another judge, but what happened in another court was not of concern to him and he had to consider the charges, any new evidence, and the submissions that were made before him.

Judge Kelleher said in all the circumstances he was refusing Mr Balcytis bail on the four new charges, and he remanded him in custody to appear on June 3 while he approved a surety and remanded him on bail on the earlier charges.

All of the drug possession and possession for sale or supply charges refer to Ring Port, Loughbeg, Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, on May 21.

Det Gda O’Toole said gardaí were able to forensically test the cocaine in Cork at the weekend but that other drugs had to be sent to the national forensic science laboratory in Dublin.

More in this section