Two in court over Limerick €21m cocaine seizure

foynes harbour, a goods port in County Limerick
Image caption,The ship was detained in Foynes Harbour, a goods port in County Limerick
  • Published24 December 2023

Two men have appeared in court after an estimated 300kg of cocaine was seized from a cargo ship in the Republic of Ireland.

The boat was docked at Foynes Port in County Limerick on Tuesday.

Kamen Petkov, 35, and Nikola Penchev, 32, were both charged with possession of a quantity of cocaine for sale and supply.

They appeared at Limerick District Court on Sunday afternoon.

Gardaí (Irish police) said the cocaine had an estimated street value of about €21m (£17.3m).

The drugs were discovered on a large grain carrier which docked in the port.

The Maltese-registered Verila was searched by customs officers and gardaí over the course of three days.

Six men were arrested and detained on Friday as part of the investigation.

The other four men have been released from custody and files are being prepared for the director of public prosecutions.

The ship is still at Foynes harbour and a police investigation is continuing.

Mr Petkov and Mr Penchev, who are Bulgarian, were assigned an interpreter and granted legal aid when the court was told they had no means and were unable to work.

The court heard they made no reply when the charges were put to them on Saturday night.

They were remanded in custody to appear in court again on 29 December.

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