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coke probe Furniture tycoon denies "anything to do with" plot to smuggle cocaine worth €2.5 million into Ireland

John Quinn appeared before Naas District Court where he was due to be served with book of evidence on charges connected to the massive coke seizure.

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John Quinn outside court in Naas last week

John Quinn outside court in Naas last week

John Quinn outside court in Naas last week

A former furniture tycoon is denying "anything to do with or any knowledge of" a plot to smuggle €2.5 million worth of cocaine into Ireland through Rosslare Europort.

John Quinn (59), a former director of the furniture company Jondol, appeared before Naas District Court on Wednesday where he was due to be served with a book of evidence on charges connected to the massive 2018 cocaine seizure.

The cocaine, Judge Desmond Zaidan was told, was discovered by customs officers, hidden in a concealed compartment in a container of pallets.

The discovery was made on November 3, 2018 after the container arrived at Rosslare port from Cherbourg, France.

Detective Garda David McKinley of the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (DOCB) told the court that gardai were not yet in a position to present the book of evidence in the case and would be requesting a four-week adjournment.

Quinn, whose address was given on court documents as Woodside House, Dunnstown Wood, Brannockstown, Co Kildare, did not speak during the proceedings.

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Quinn says he has nothing to do with the massive seizure in 2018.

Quinn says he has nothing to do with the massive seizure in 2018.

Quinn says he has nothing to do with the massive seizure in 2018.

He was represented by solicitor Tim Kenneally.

"The book is not ready," Det Garda McKinlay told the court. Asked by Judge Zaidan, why not, Det McKinlay said "there was an issue with the charge sheets not being sent by the DPP's office to the State solicitor.

"I am informed they were sent yesterday so I'm seeking four weeks."

Judge Zaidan then asked Det Garda McKinlay to "remind me again, what are the allegations?"

"The container came in," responded Det Garda McKinlay, "and it had it [the cocaine] concealed in the bottom of it."

"The shipment was stopped by customs and the container was searched and the cocaine was subsequently found in this container."

Asked what the container the drugs were found in was carrying, Det Garda McKinlay responded: "Pallets."

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"And the alleged cocaine was to the value of €2.5 million," queried the judge. "Yes," the detective responded.

"And what evidence," asked the judge, "led you to the suspect Mr John Quinn?"

The detective responded: "The truck involved in the moving of the trailer out, we believe, was with Mr Quinn. It was paid for, it was in the hands, it was in the possession of Mr Quinn."

Judge Zaidan noted there was no book of evidence present due to a misunderstanding between two State offices, the DPP's office and the State solicitor's office.

Taking to his feet, solicitor for John Quinn, Tim Kenneally said: "In relation to what's just been said there, my client is denying anything to do with this Judge or any knowledge of it. I should put that on record."

Mr Kenneally said his client was consenting to the request for an adjournment of four weeks. He also advised the court that there would be a need to make a preliminary application with regard to the case at a certain stage.

Asked whether his client appreciated the fact that the charges before the court were very serious, Mr Kenneally answered his client "does, of course."

Judge Zaidan noted that the charge against Quinn referred to section 15b of the Drugs Act, rather than the more commonly prosecuted section 15a.

"Normally in 99 per cent of cases where the value of the drugs is in excess of €10,000, its 15a," he said.

"Can I ask you why it's 15b?" He queried. "That's the direction I received from the DPP," replied the detective. "I suspect it probably applies to the importation and that's the difference," said Judge Zaidan.

Section 15b of the Misuse of Drugs Act provides that a person shall be guilty of an offence where the person imports one or more controlled drugs in contravention of regulations and where the value amounts to €13,000 or more.

Solicitor Tim Kenneally requested that his client's bail conditions be amended so as to require him to sign on once a week at Tallaght Garda station going forward as opposed to three times a week at present.

Detective McKinlay said gardai would not be objecting to this.

The remaining conditions that Quinn remain on bail on his own bond of €5,000 together with an independent surety of €5,000 were unchanged.

Approving the change, Judge Zaidan adjourned the case to July 21 for service of the book of evidence.

Quinn's Kildare based furniture company Jondol Furniture Limited, of which he was co-director with his wife Dolores, was wound down in 2012.

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