Man accused of being “significant drug trafficker” in Limerick and Tipperary, refused bail on cocaine charge

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A MAN gardai allege is a major drug trafficker in south east of Limerick and north Tipperary, has been denied bail on a charge of possessing cocaine.

Michael O’Neill, 33, with an address at Ballyvoudeen, Kilteely, Co Limerick, was arrested and charged by Bruff gardai yesterday morning.

Garda David Hennessy told Limerick District Court he arrested Mr O’Neill on Monday morning in connection with a seizure of cocaine worth €8,000, on May 17th last.

During a bail application Garda Hennessy alleged Mr O’Neill was stopped by gardai driving a black Mercedes car near his home, and that a quantity of cocaine was found wrapped in an orange plastic glove in the footwell of the front passenger seat.

Mr O’Neill was alone in the car at the time, and denied any knowledge of the drugs, it was heard.

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Garda Hennessy objected to bail on the grounds of the “seriousness” of the charge and his belief that Mr O’Neill would “fail” to meet any bail conditions the court might impose and that the accused would not turn up in court again, if he was granted bail.

He said gardai believe Mr O’Neill is a “significant drug trafficker in the South East Limerick and north Tipperary region” and that he has “acted with disregard for the law”.

During cross examination by Mr O’Neill’s solicitor, John Hebert, he confirmed that the car driven by Mr O’Neill when he was stopped by gardai on May 17th was registered to a third party.

Mr Herbert said the charge before the court was an offence contrary to Section 15 of the Misuse of Drugs Act, namely possession of drugs for sale or supply, as opposed to Section 15(a) of the Act, which carries a prescribed minimum prison term of 10 years for persons convicted of possession of drugs worth more than €13,000 for sale or supply.

Addressing judge Patricia Harney, Mr Herbert said: “It’s not the most serious drug case that will come before the court, and I ask you to consider bail.”

Judge Harney said she was refusing bail, having noted “the seriousness of the charge” and the “deeply concerning matters in relation to the State’s objection to bail”.

“I’m satisfied to refuse bail,’ the judge added.

She remanded Mr O’Neill in custody to Limerick Prison to appear before Limerick District Court today for directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions.