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Polish pilot charged over €8.4m Westmeath cocaine seizure prepares fresh bail bid

Pilot Michal Luczak (41) with an address in Naas, Co Kildare was arrested alongside Waterford man Tim Gilchrist (54)

Tim Gilchrist (left, wearing white shirt) and Michal Luczak (face covered) outside Mullingar district court

The Cessna single-engine plane that was seized by gardaí after it landed in Abbeyshrule, Co Longford. Photo:: An Garda Síochána

The €8.4million of cocaine seized. Photo:: An Garda Síochána

Tim Gilchrist leaving Mullingar District Court. Photo: Mark Condren

Tom TuiteSunday World

A Polish pilot and a Co. Waterford man charged over a seizure of €8.4m of cocaine allegedly flown into the midlands last week have been further remanded in custody pending directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB), supported by other units, monitored a Cessna single-engine aircraft landing at Abbeyshrule Aerodrome, Co. Longford, shortly after 6 pm on August 10.

The Cessna single-engine plane that was seized by gardaí after it landed in Abbeyshrule, Co Longford. Photo:: An Garda Síochána

Later that evening, they intercepted two vehicles in the Lough Owel area in Co. Westmeath, recovering 120 kilogrammes of cocaine from one car.

Gardai arrested Tim Gilchrist, 54, of Mavis Bank, Newrath, Waterford and pilot Michal Luczak, 41, with an address at Primrose Avenue, Jigginstown Naas, Co. Kildare.

They were detained at Ashbourne Garda Station, Dublin and charged. Both faced a special sitting of Mullingar District Court on Sunday morning.

Mr Gilchrist is accused of possessing cocaine for sale or supply at Lough Owel, Irishtown, Co. Westmeath. The drugs were allegedly recovered from his car.

The €8.4million of cocaine seized. Photo:: An Garda Síochána

Father of two, Mr Luczak, is charged with the same offences at the Abbeyshrule Aerodrome.

Mr Gilchrist made no attempt for bail; however, his co-accused did make an application, which was denied following Garda objections on the grounds he was a flight risk.

The duo appeared again at the same court via video link on Thursday..

Mr Luczak’s barrister Niall Flynn, instructed by Keenan & Co Solicitors, told Judge Deirdre Gearty his client was now preparing to bring a High Court bail application.

The court heard that the analysis of the seized substances was still awaited.

Mr Gilchrist, represented by solicitor Maurice Regan, reserved his position on bail.

Tim Gilchrist leaving Mullingar District Court. Photo: Mark Condren

Judge Gearty remanded them in continuing custody to appear again on August 25 for the DPP's directions.

At Sunday’s hearing, the seizure was described in court as a "massive loss" to a criminal group.

Detective Garda Liam Mangan had said Mr Gilchrist “made no reply to charge”.

Detective Ivor Scully told the court he feared Mr Luczak was a flight risk.

The pilot made no reply to his charges, and his lawyer said his client had protested his innocence.

During the contested bail hearing, the court heard Mr Luczak, a former law student, moved to Ireland 17 years ago to find work, and he had been doing odd jobs due to the covid pandemic.

The defence had disputed garda evidence of his lack of ties to Ireland.

His lawyer said Mr Luczak was married with children here, gardai had seized his passport, and he had no signs of wealth.


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