herald

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Escape bid fear after 'cannabis farm' raid

€148k HAUL: Pair kept in custody

TWO men arrested after a garda raid on a cannabis farm in which more than €148,000 worth of the drug was seized have been remanded in custody.

Van Nguyen (18) and Ngo Quoc Binh (25) were both remanded in custody after being detained for three days following the bust in Tallaght.

Nguyen, of no fixed abode, and Binh, of Belcamp Gardens, Coolock, were both charged with possessing cannabis herb with intent to sell or supply, as well as cultivation of the drug.

They were arrested last Sunday at the alleged cannabis farm at a house at Virginia Heights, Tallaght, and brought before the local district court yesterday.

Judge David McHugh remanded Binh in custody after his lawyer made no bail application. The judge refused to grant bail to Nguyen following objections from gardai.

Tallaght District Court heard Binh was arrested at Virginia Heights at 9.25pm on Sunday and was taken to Tallaght Garda Station, where he was detained under Section 2 of the Drug Trafficking Act.

His period of detention was extended and he was released and charged at 9.15pm on Tuesday night.

His reply to the first charge was: "I don't know why I am being charged." To the second, he said: "I didn't know that there was anything in the house when I got there."

Defence solicitor Michael Hennessy said his client was "not in a position to make a meaningful bail application" in the absence of an address for Binh.





Delivery

He applied for legal aid and Garda Sgt Carmel Henry said gardai were seeking a statement of means because of the value of the alleged drugs haul.

Mr Hennessy said Binh had worked sporadically as a Chinese takeaway delivery man. He had been in Ireland for eight years.

The court heard Nguyen was arrested at the same address at around the same time and was also detained at Tallaght Garda Station, where he made no reply when the charges were put to him through a Vietnamese interpreter.

Barrister Kitty Perle applied for bail on his behalf.

Gardai objected, telling the court he had "absolutely no ties" to this jurisdiction and was considered a flight risk. He had failed to provide valid forms of identification and had indicated to the gardai that he slept rough in the Phoenix Park and begged in the city centre.

"He was caught actually inside the house, which would be a cannabis farm," the garda alleged.

Ms Perle said Nguyen had identity cards, but the garda said these included a refugee application which was out of date since July last year.

The garda said Nguyen had not provided the Belcamp address while in custody and it had not been checked out yet.

Both men were remanded in custody to appear in Cloverhill District Court on May 18.

aphelan@herald.ie

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