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Gardai found €1.2m of cocaine in van's air compressor, court hears

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Accused man Andrew Lawlor

Accused man Andrew Lawlor

Accused man Andrew Lawlor

Gardai found €1.2m worth of cocaine hidden in an air compressor following an alleged drugs hand over from a truck to a van at a business park, a court has heard.

Andrew Lawlor (35) and John Reynolds (62) appeared on drugs charges after they were arrested following the seizure at the weekend.

Judge Anthony Halpin granted Mr Lawlor bail subject to conditions, but Mr Reynolds made no bail application yesterday and was remanded in custody.

Mr Lawlor, of The Paddocks Grove, Adamstown, Lucan, and Mr Reynolds, of Caltragh, Dromard, Sligo, are both charged with possession of cocaine with intent to sell or supply at Ashbourne Business Centre on July 11.

Detective Garda Gavin Curran told Dublin District Court he arrested Mr Lawlor for the purpose of charge at 8.36pm on Sunday at Ashbourne Garda Station.

He made no reply after caution at 8.46pm.

Objecting to bail in Mr Lawlor's case, Det Gda Curran said gardai received confidential information that there was a consignment of drugs concealed within a white Scania truck that was due to arrive in the country from Northern Ireland on July 11.

Undercover

At 9am on Saturday, a white Scania was seen heading southbound on the M1 and was followed by undercover gardai.

It parked at Ashbourne Business Centre, and a short time later a Volkswagen Caddy van arrived and parked to the rear.

Both drivers got out and were seen to interact while gardai watched from a distance.

Both vehicles left separately and were stopped by officers. Searches proved negative, and Mr Lawlor, the sole occupant of the Caddy, was released.

The vehicle was searched at Ashbourne Garda Station and an air compressor was found in the rear.

It had been adapted to conceal a large amount of drugs, and Det Gda Curran said 17kg of cocaine with a potential value of €1.2m was found in it.

The accused had left the station by then, so gardai informed Mr Lawlor's partner he was wanted for questioning and he returned to the station and made admissions, the court heard. He was "caught red-handed", the garda said.

The judge granted bail in the accused's own cash bond of €1,000, with a €10,000 independent surety.

He is to appear in Trim District Court on September 8 for the directions of the DPP.

Det Gda William Armstrong said Mr Reynolds was charged at 5.53pm on Sunday and his reply to each charge after caution was "no".

Judge Halpin remanded him in custody to appear before Trim District Court on Thursday.