Passenger ‘caught red-handed’ with €340,000 of cannabis on flight from Los Angeles

A passenger was “caught red-handed” after Dublin Airport customs officials seized €340,000 of cannabis hidden in luggage after he flew in from Los Angeles, a court heard on Saturday.

Brian Thackaberry (34) of Church Hill, Dunlavin, Co Wicklow, appeared before Judge Brendan Toale at Dublin District Court on Saturday and was denied bail.

He is charged with possessing the cannabis, having it with intent to supply and unlawful importation of the drug following his arrest just after 4pm on Friday.

Gda Marie Ruddy told Judge Toale the accused made no reply to the charge.

Mr Thackaberry applied for bail but was opposed by Gda Ruddy, who cited the seriousness of the case.

She told the court that customs officers detected the drugs in a suitcase, and she alleged the accused was “caught red-handed”.

“There was a deliberate attempt to conceal approximately 17 kilos of suspected cannabis,” she said, adding that the defendant’s name tag was attached to the luggage.

Further charges were possible.

The garda feared the accused had connections outside the jurisdiction because he had flown in from Los Angeles.

Defence counsel Luke O’Higgins submitted that his client had ties to the country, could offer an address with his father in Wicklow, and had siblings here.

A family member had come to court offering to stand €5,000 bail, and counsel said the accused would sign on daily at a Garda station.

Mr O’Higgins said his client, who has the presumption of innocence, would face a lengthy period in custody pending trial.

Judge Toale said witness or evidence interference was not a feature, but there were concerns that the accused would evade the trial if released.

He refused bail and remanded Mr Thackaberry, who has yet to indicate a plea, in custody to appear at Cloverhill District Court on Wednesday.

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