BREAKING: Man charged with possessing baking soda and ammonia during Garda drug raid

The Limerick City Courts complex on Mulgrave Street.

by David Raleigh

Gardaí have charged a man with possession of baking soda and ammonia, arising out of a garda operation targeting the alleged production of crack cocaine in a Limerick housing estate.

Alan Keane, 43, with an address at St Ita’s Street, St Mary’s Park, Limerick, was arrested by gardaí following a series of planned raids on properties in the St Mary’s Park estate on Monday.

On Tuesday morning a garda press release stated: “Gardaí attached to Limerick Divisional Drugs Unit conducted a search operation as part of Operation Copóg in St Mary’s Park, Limerick yesterday morning, Monday 20th December 2021. Operation Copóg was launched in March 2021 to target the sale and supply of controlled drugs and anti-social behaviour in St Mary’s Park, Limerick City.”

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

“Search warrants were executed at a number of properties in St Mary’s Park as part of this operation. Gardaí were assisted by the Regional Armed Support Unit, Emergency Response Unit and the Southern Region Dog Unit.”

“The properties were found to be heavily modified and reinforced to obstruct entry. During the course of the operation €700 worth of suspected cocaine was seized along with items used for the preparation of crack cocaine including baking soda and chemical ammonia.”

“One man, aged in his 40s, was arrested in relation to this investigation and was detained in Henry Street Garda Station under the provisions of Section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1996. He has since been charged and is due to appear before Limerick District Court this morning, Tuesday 21st December 2021 at 10.30am. Investigations are ongoing.”

Gardaí brought Alan Keane to Limerick District Court for the purpose of charging him.

Mr Keane did not physically appear before the court and was attended to by paramedics in the custody suite of the court complex.

Paramedics attended the court complex and Mr Keane was transferred to University Hospital Limerick where his condition was unknown.

According to court documents, Mr Keane faces one charge of “possession of articles namely baking soda and the chemical ammonia in circumstances giving rise to a reasonable inference that these articles were in (his) possession for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation, facilitation or instigation of a drug trafficking offence”.

The documents state the alleged offence is “within the meaning of Section 3 (1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1994, and is contrary to Section 183 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 as amended by Section 46 off the Criminal Justice Act 2007”.

Mr Keane is alleged to have the items in his possession, at a house at St Ita’s Street, St Mary’s Park, on December 20.

The court remanded Mr Keane, represented by solicitor Tom Kiely, on bail on condition that he stay away from the St Mary’s Park housing estate; sign on daily at a garda station; and obey a nightly curfew.

Mr Keane was remanded on bail to appear before Limerick District Court on Wednesday, December 22, for directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions.