A former Dundalk FC goalkeeper charged over a €3.4m cannabis seizure was allegedly offered the chance to “make a few bob” by a man he picked up in his taxi.
Eddie van Boxtel (41) – who won a league title at Oriel Park back in 1995 – claimed he was simply employed by another man to “drive from A to B” after he complained “the taxi game is dead”.
The accused allegedly told detectives he never saw the cannabis resin, but admitted he knew “it wasn’t marshmallows” in the back of a van.
A court heard the street value of the drug was €3.45m.
The former Leeds United footballer pleaded not guilty before Kildare Circuit Court to possession of cannabis as well as having the drug for sale or supply on February 6, 2008.
Detective Garda Tom Barber alleged Mr van Boxtel met another man at a garage just outside Newbridge at 6.25am on February 6, 2008.
Gda Barber claimed the pair then drove off in the other man’s Audi A6 towards Rathangan Road, where Mr van Boxtel got into a silver Ford Transit van, which was parked in a lay-by.
Sergeant David Kennedy claimed Mr van Boxtel drove the van to a house at Clongorey, Naas, where he backed it into a shed at the back.
He allegedly drove off a few minutes later towards Rathangan Road and left the van in the same lay-by. It is alleged two other men came along a short time later in a Ford Fiesta, one got into the van, and they drove off in convey towards Dublin.
The van was stopped at the M7 Castlewarden, near Kill, and a pallet containing cannabis was found in the back.
Interviewed by Sgt Kennedy, Mr van Boxtel, of Sillogue Avenue in Ballymun, said he started working as a taxi driver when his football career ended.
One day he complained to a passenger the “taxi game was dead”, and this man took his mobile phone number, telling him he could earn a few extra bob as a driver.
During interview, Mr van Boxtel told to Sgt Kennedy he simply “drove from A to B”.
He said he did not see who dropped off the Ford Transit or who collected the drugs.
He said he did not put the cannabis into the van at Clongorey, and did “not have a clue” what the drug was worth.
A former goalkeeper, Mr van Boxtel played with several League of Ireland clubs, helping Dundalk to win the league in 1995.
His most famous sporting moment came when he saved a penalty from Eric Cantona, who was then playing for Manchester United, during a friendly at Oriel Park.
The trial continues before Judge Gerard Griffin.
Source: Irish Independent