An Irishman wanted in the UK on 39 manslaughter charges has been accused of being the ringleader of a group involved in illegal immigration.
Ronan Hughes of Leitrim Silverstream, Tyholland, Co. Monaghan is seeking bail from the High Court today as he fights his extradition from Dublin.
Hughes was arrested by Gardaí earlier this month on foot of a warrant issued by police investigating the deaths of 39 Vietnamese nationals.
On October 23rd last, their bodies were found in the back of a lorry in an industrial estate in Essex.
The container they were found in was sealed, and they died over a two-hour period due to lack of oxygen.
Sergeant Jim Kirwan said it would be alleged that Mr. Hughes was the “chief organiser” of a group involved in bringing illegal immigrants into the UK.
The court heard it’s further claimed that he made a substantial amount of money from this illegal activity.
Sergeant Kirwan said he feared Mr. Hughes may abscond if granted bail, and he said it was his belief he had the means to do so.
The court heard he lived in a relatively new house finished to a very high standard, and paid for without a mortgage.
€210k has also been frozen across 33 bank accounts linked to Mr. Hughes, and Sergeant Kirwan expressed concerns about his access to a large number of vehicles, a number of which he said have yet to be located.
*Reporting by Frank Greaney