An alleged "principal" of an “elaborate” drug-trafficking and money-laundering operation swam the River Liffey to evade arrest for a €2m drug seizure, a court heard.
Officers from the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau searched a house and stopped vans in Palmerstown, Dublin, on June 22.
Six men were arrested during the operation, and on Friday five appeared in court. Today, gardaí brought the sixth man, Carl Powell, before Judge Treasa Kelly at Dublin District Court.
Mr Powell, aged 34, with an address at Brocklebank Lane, Liverpool was refused bail. He is charged with possessing cannabis for sale or supply at a house on Mill Lane, Palmerstown, and having heroin, cannabis, and cocaine at an apartment in Dublin. Judge Kelly heard he made no reply to the charges.
Detective Garda Gavin Curran objected to bail due to the seriousness of the case. He said Mr Powell was a "principal part" of an organised crime group involved in drug distribution and money laundering.
He said gardaí set up a surveillance operation and saw him carrying a black Under Armour sports bag into a house at Mill Lane. Two vans that left the property were stopped and searched and 69kg of cannabis, worth over €1.3m, was recovered. Gardaí searched the house and seized 34kg of cannabis, worth €680,000.
The court heard a man tried to escape, and he entered and swam across the Liffey. He discarded the sports bag, which gardaí say they have recovered.
They also searched an apartment in Dublin 2. Detective Garda Curran said €140,000 worth of cocaine, heroin valued at €180,000, and 2kg of cannabis were recovered, along with vacuum-packed bags of cash totalling €864,000.
A "tick list", ledger, weighing scales, and a counterfeit money detection machine were discovered there, the court heard.
Detective Garda Curran alleged that a passport photo of the accused, a Ryanair ticket, and a dentist’s receipt from Spain were also found.
Mr Powell was arrested at a city centre hotel just after 1pm the following day. Detective Curran said the accused, who has one eye, had a "distinctive appearance".
At the time of arrest, Mr Powell wore slippers and a woman's coat, and “found in his possession was a wet passport”.
The officer said Mr Powell had "multiple scratches" believed to have been caused by branches and undergrowth along the Liffey.
The detective also said he believed Mr Powell was a flight risk with access to a "transnational network".
Cross-examined by defence counsel Keith Spencer, the detective agreed there was no forensic evidence linking Mr Powell to the city-centre apartment or the alleged storehouse in Palmerstown.
Judge Kelly denied the accused bail and remanded him in custody to appear at Cloverhill District Court on Friday.