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huge bust Man remanded in custody following €1m cash seizure

Jiri Suchanek (45) of No Fixed Abode was before the court after gardaí stopped the van in which he was driving between Junctions 14 and 15 just off the M7 at Ballybrittas on Friday morning.

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Some of the cash seized by gardaí

Some of the cash seized by gardaí

Some of the cash seized by gardaí

A 45-year-old man was remanded in custody following his appearance at Portlaoise District Court today on a money laundering charge.

Jiri Suchanek, 45, of no fixed abode, was before the court after gardaí stopped the van in which he was driving between Junctions 14 and 15 just off the M7 at Ballybrittas on Friday morning.

Cash in excess of €1 million was seized by members of the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) during a search of the van.

In court, Detective Garda John Rourke said that when the charge was put to the defendant of facilitating money laundering, relating to the suspected proceeds of drug trafficking and organised crime, Mr Suchanek made no reply after caution.

Det. Rourke said that on 8 January while gardaí were carrying out investigations into an organised crime gang, they stopped a white Nissan van at Ballybrittas, Co Laois and found Mr Suchanek to be the sole occupant of the vehicle.

On searching the van they found a large bag containing cash and a black rubbish bag containing more cash in the back of it.

Det. Rourke said that to date €1 million of the seizure had been counted, while more is still to be counted.

He said that Mr Suchanek has been working in Ireland for the past 13 years as a driver and lived in the back of lorries during that time.

Defending solicitor Josephine Fitzpatrick said that it was not unusual for truck drivers to live in lorries nowadays that have modern facilities attached.

She said that during the time her client has been in Ireland he has been sending home up to 80pc of his earnings to his wife and adult daughter in the Czech Republic.

She said that her client was looking for free legal aid in the case.

Det. Rourke said that Mr Suchanek informed them that he earned €800 a week.

Judge Catherine Staines said she would adjourn making a decision on the provision of free legal aid and the decision to grant bail until next Tuesday, 12 January, at Portlaoise District Court and remanded Mr Suchanek in custody to Cloverhill Prison until then.

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