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Drugs charge Man (78) appears in court accused of transporting €320k ecstasy on a bus into Dublin

A quantity of white powder was found concealed in pottery boxes and in plastic panels underneath children’s toys, the garda said.

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Store Street garda station. Photo: Google Maps

Store Street garda station. Photo: Google Maps

Store Street garda station. Photo: Google Maps

A 78-YEAR-OLD man has been accused of transporting €320,000 worth of ecstasy on a bus into Dublin from Northern Ireland after gardai found the drug hidden in boxes under children’s toys and pottery sets.

Peter Lam was arrested after gardai stopped him walking through Busaras carrying the boxes on Monday.

The pensioner was remanded in custody with consent to bail when he appeared in Dublin District Court today.

Mr Lam, a UK and Chinese national from Lisburn Road, Belfast is charged with possession of MDMA with intent to sell or supply on October 11.

Garda Kieran Stapleton said the accused was charged at 7.45pm at Store Street garda station yesterday and he replied after caution: “I have nothing to say.”

Objecting to bail, Garda Stapleton told Judge Bryan Smyth the quantity of drugs allegedly found was 5.5kg, with an estimated value of €320,000.

Confidential information was received that an elderly Asian man was travelling on a bus from Northern Ireland, he said. The bus was due to arrive at Busaras and the man was reported to be transporting a number of boxes with him containing concealed illegal drugs.

Gardai saw the man exit the bus and retrieve two large cardboard boxes from the undercarriage. He then made his way with the boxes in his possession to the bus station foyer, where he was stopped.

Mr Lam was brought to Store Street station, where he was searched. A quantity of white powder was found concealed in pottery boxes and in plastic panels underneath children’s toys, the garda said.

A preliminary analysis confirmed the drug was MDMA. The accused was allegedly “caught red-handed” and “caught in the act, carrying the boxes,” the garda said.

Garda Stapleton said he considered the accused to be a flight risk if granted bail.

A file was being prepared for the DPP, with a possibility of further serious charges.

Applying for bail, defence solicitor Michael French said the accused, who was a “vulnerable individual” had denied the alleged offence, and that he had any prior knowledge.

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“He denied all knowledge of any substance or what was contained in the packages,” Mr French said.

Mr Lam was an old age pensioner and UK citizen who had been living in Northern Ireland for 60 years, Mr French said. He had medical issues and had been in receipt of medication from a doctor during his detention.

Mr Lam would be “very vulnerable in the prison population,” Mr French said.

The defence was sourcing an address for him here but he was not in a position to advance any money for bail.

Mr Lam was presumed innocent and could be in custody until 2024 awaiting trial “if he maintains his current not guilty stance”, Mr French said.

Judge Smyth granted bail in Mr Lam’s own bond of €1,000, with no cash lodgement. However, he also required an independent surety of €20,000, of which half must be in cash.

He must provide gardai with an address, observe a curfew and sign on daily at a garda station.

Mr French said the accused would not be taking up bail “any time soon” and the judge remanded Mr Lam in custody with consent to bail to Cloverhill District Court on October 20.


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