A woman arrested in Dublin, Ireland for cannabis smuggling allegedly told the authorities she did not break any laws intentionally as she thought she was merely transporting a suitcase full of handbags.
According to a report by the Irish Examiner, Yejieda Johnson, a 26-year-old London woman, was arrested at Dublin Airport over the weekend with 37 kilograms of cannabis and charged with unlawful importation and possession of drugs/having them for sale or supply.
Irish authorities, known as the “Garda Síochána” estimated the street value of the cannabis to be around €740,000 or just under $800k USD (though anyone with access to a calculator or 4th grade math skills can figure out the bulk price on all that is probably closer to $80k even in Europe).
According to the Examiner, Garda Tom McLoughlin appeared in court to advocate against bail for Johnson. McLoughlin alleged that Johnson had been “caught in the act” of a “very deliberate attempt to conceal 37 kg of cannabis.” McLoughlin stated during cross-examination that Johnson insisted she had been carrying handbags and “never touched” any cannabis.
McLoughlin went on to claim that Johnson was a “clear and immediate flight risk,” due to her lack of an Irish home address or family connections in the area. Johnson allegedly departed from John F. Kennedy airport in New York City and was supposed to get a connecting flight from Dublin to her home in London on Saturday.
The Examiner Report went on to indicate that Johnson maintained her innocence to the court, pleading for bail. Johnson told the court she had lived in London all her life and currently lived with family members. She told the court she was a mother of one and had previously worked in a hotel spa and coffee shop though she was unemployed at the time of the hearing. She swore to the court she would return to Ireland and prove her innocence.
“I have no reason not to come back, I’m innocent,” Johnson said. “I didn’t know what was in those cases. I will not run off or anything like that. I’m innocent, I’m not a criminal.”
According to another report in Sunday World, defense barrister Karl Monahan argued for bail, saying that Johnson could wait in Irish prison for up to two years before her actual trial began. He also argued the street value and exact nature of the drugs had yet to be officially established, which could explain the wildly high figure mentioned above (I did the math and even dimed out at $10 a gram it’s only $367k).
Oddly enough, another woman flying from Amsterdam to Dublin was also arrested at Dublin Airport the same day with a suitcase containing 10 kilograms of ketamine. Authorities did not indicate that there was any reason to believe the incidents were related, but they did indicate the ketamine had a street value of €600,000 which actually might be kind of low if you sold it by the gram, but I digress.
The following quote was given to the Irish Mirror by a Garda spokesperson:
“Gardaí arrested two women on Saturday 2nd September 2023 as part of two separate seizures made by Revenue officers at Dublin Airport. The seizures comprised 37kgs of herbal cannabis, worth an estimated €740,000, and approximately 10kgs of suspected ketamine worth €600,000. Two women in their 20s were arrested by Gardaí and later detained. They have since been charged with regards to these separate seizures, and appeared before the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin this morning, Monday, 4th September 2023.”
A spokesperson for Revenue also told the Irish Mirror “The illicit drugs were discovered when Revenue officers stopped and searched the baggage of passengers who had disembarked flights from New York and Amsterdam.”
Yejieda Johnson was ultimately granted bail for €1,000 plus an additional €10,000 surety. She would also be required to leave her London address, phone number and other such assurances that she would return to Ireland for trial. She was remanded back into Irish custody until she appears again in court on September 11.