Man pleads guilty over €8.5m cocaine haul allegedly flown into Longford aerodrome

Tim Gilchrist (56) to be sentenced in July, but co-accused Michal Luczak (43) pleading not guilty and set to face trial

A man has been remanded in custody pending sentencing after pleading guilty in connection with a seizure of about €8.5 million of cocaine that was allegedly flown into Co Longford in 2022.

Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau officers, supported by other units, were monitoring a Cessna single-engine aircraft as it landed at Abbeyshrule Aerodrome, Co Longford shortly after 6pm on August 4th, 2022.

Later that evening they intercepted two vehicles in the Lough Owel area in Co Westmeath and recovered 120kg of cocaine from one car.

Gardaí arrested Tim Gilchrist (56), of Mavis Bank, Newrath, Waterford, and pilot Michal Luczak (43), a Polish national, formerly of Primrose Avenue, Jigginstown, Naas, Co Kildare, and now of Skerries, Co Dublin.


Gilchrist, who has not applied for bail since his arrest, appeared before Judge Keenan Johnson at Mullingar Circuit Criminal Court on Friday for arraignment on Friday.

He is accused of possessing drugs worth €13,000 or more for sale or supply at Lough Owel, Co Westmeath on the date of his arrest. The offence can attract a 10-year sentence.

Gilchrist confirmed his name and replied “guilty” when the charge was put to him.

Michael O’Higgins SC, defending, said Gilchrist had no prior convictions and he applied for an adjournment to prepare documentation about his client’s good character for the next hearing.

Judge Johnson remanded the accused in custody to appear again on July 2nd for sentencing. He said he did not think it necessary to seek a probation report at this stage. Garda evidence and a mitigation plea will be heard on that occasion.

Mr Luczak, who has lived in Ireland for 17 years, is charged with the same offence on the same date but at Abbeyshrule Aerodrome.

He remains on bail and has indicated he intends to plead not guilty. Judge Johnson heard Mr Luczak’s jury trial was expected to last two weeks. His case was adjourned until April 9th, when it will be listed for mention to allocate dates for his trial.