Grandfather accused of prison drug drone deliveries had €180,000 crime proceeds, court told

Karl Widdess is charged with money laundering and unlawful possession of heroin

A grandfather arrested for using a drone to deliver heroin into a Dublin prison had more than €180,000 in suspected crime proceeds at his home, a court has heard.

Karl Widdess, 44, appeared before Judge Treasa Kelly at Dublin District Court on Saturday, charged with a money laundering offence on February 23rd, unlawful possession of heroin and having drugs worth €1,400 in the vicinity of a prison on February 12th.

He was held in custody with consent to €2,000 bail and must obey strict conditions on release.

Mr Widdess, of Mountbellew Way, Lucan, Co Dublin, made no reply when charged at Lucan Garda station on Friday night.


Garda Tadhg McCarthy alleged the accused supplied heroin into Cloverhill Prison “using a drone”. The officer applied for a remand in custody, citing the seriousness of the case.

A contested bail hearing was told gardaí obtained a warrant to search the defendant’s home. It was alleged they uncovered €181,995 and £400.

The garda claimed the accused made partial admissions. Cross-examined by defence counsel Kevin McCrave, the officer conceded that another person was using the drone controller but claimed “the accused was with him”.

The garda accepted there was no fear of witness intimidation or that he would not turn up to court.

He agreed that the case would likely be dealt with at Circuit Court level and refusing bail would result in Mr Widdess facing a considerable period of time on prison remand pending trial.

The court heard the man was a married father, had a grandchild and wished to be able to attend a christening soon.

The defence barrister acknowledged it was a serious case but stressed his client had the presumption of innocence. Mr Widdess has yet to indicate a plea.

Judge Kelly said it was a serious case but was satisfied she could release him with conditions. Setting the bail in his bond at €1,000, of which half must be lodged, she required approval of a €1,000 independent surety before he could be released.

Once bail has been taken up, he must reside at his current address, sign on daily at a Garda station, stay away from Cloverhill Prison and the adjacent Wheatfield Prison, surrender his passport, remain contactable 24/7 by mobile phone, and have no contact with a witness.

He spoke once during the hearing to tell the judge his wife could hand over his passport.

Judge Kelly remanded him in custody with consent to bail to appear again at Cloverhill District Court on Friday. Legal aid was granted.

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