Mother accused of being "leader" of major drug gang in Italy granted bail by High Court

"Leader": Aisha Ahmed allegedly had a role in an association which imported, sold, distributed "remarkable quantities" of cocaine (Herald)
"Leader": Aisha Ahmed allegedly had a role in an association which imported, sold, distributed "remarkable quantities" of cocaine (Herald)

A mother of six has who is suspected of being a drug importer in Italy, where she is wanted to serve a 20-year prison sentence imposed in her absence, has been granted bail by the High Court.

Aisha Ahmed (49), AKA Gloria Anwulika Aro (47), was arrested at her home at Sundale Parade, Tallaght, Dublin 24 last October, on foot of a European Arrest Warrant issued by the Italian authorities, who have been looking for the Nigerian native for several years.

The arrest warrant alleges that Ms Ahmed had the role of “promoter, leader and organiser” in an association that imported, sold, distributed and traded “remarkable quantities” of cocaine in Italy between September 1999 and June 2000.

Ms Ahmed had given her name as Gloria Aro and her date of birth as being in December 1967, when she was arrested. She supplied an Irish passport to that effect.

She previously denied being known as Aisha Ahmed or by the alias, Linda, and denied using a date of birth in 1965.

Her separated husband, Yemi Moshood Olatunde (47), AKA Roy Yemmy Andrew Aro, with an address at Sundale Parade, Tallaght, Dublin, was also arrested in October and may be released on bail tomorrow.

Mr Olatunde AKA Aro, a taxi driver until he went into custody last October, was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in Italy because he allegedly associated with other persons in order to commit offences concerning the purchase, transfer, distribution, trade and unlawful possession of large quantities of cocaine.

In particular, Mr Olatunde was allegedly proved to be one of the leaders of the criminal organisation at issue and was guilty of a number of offences of possession and sale of cocaine.

Both have denied that they are the persons sought on the European Arrest Warrants.

Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly adjourned proceedings against the pair today in circumstances where the High Court had sought further information from the Italian judicial authorities three months ago concerning the issue of trial in absentia and the Italians did not appear to have answered the questions.

Ms Justice Donnelly said a response was received last Friday only on the basis of a final letter which stated that surrender may be refused if there was no response.

She said it appeared to her that the information requested had not been identified by the Italian judicial authorithies and the questions asked of them were not actually answered; perhaps on the basis of a misunderstanding, she added.

She said it was of “major concern” that the judicial athorities could wait three months to respond to the request.

Ms Justice Donnelly adjourned proceedings on condition that the pair be granted bail and the Italian authorities' response must be given to the State prior to June 30 when the case would come before the court again for mention.

Ms Ahmed was remanded in custody with consent to bail in her own bond of €1,000 to June 30 next on condition she keep the peace, be of good behaviour, undertake to not apply for a passport and sign on daily at Clondalkin Garda Station.

Ms Justice Donnelly said she would adjourn granting bail to Olatunde until tomorrow so that a number of matters could be sorted out.

by Ruaidhrí Giblin