court in derry told of ‘bud’ drug

A Derry court heard yesterday how a prescription drug used to treat epilepsy is being used as a street drug with users removing the capsule, crushing the contents and injecting the substance into their bodies.

A PSNI officer explained how the use of the drug Lyrica, also referred to as “bud”, was prevalent among prisoners.

The comments were made as a 28-year-old Derry man appeared at a special sitting of the city’s Magistrate’s Court charged with a number of drug-related offences.

William Steven Stokes, with an address at Fountain Hill in the city, was charged with being concerned with the supply of a Class A drug, namely Cocaine, a Class B Drug, Methadrone and Class C drugs Diazepam and Lyrica. The charges relate to an incident on the Glendermott Road on New Year’s Eve.

The investigating PSNI officer told the court that three males had been observed in “some kind of transaction” at a bus stop on the Glendermott Road by a police patrol car on December 31. She said that two of the males involved had subsequently been charged and remanded in custody on January 1.

The court heard that Stokes had “no drugs on him” when searched on New Year’s Eve but that police were concerned that he was involved in supplying and subsequently seized his mobile phone for investigations.

Stokes was granted street bail on December 31 pending the outcome of investigations into his mobile phone.

The investigating officer then proceeded to read out a number of text messages recovered from Stokes’ seized phone which she said police feel implicate the 28-year-old in being involved in the supply of drugs.

“One of the messages to another person saying ‘sold out til Friday’ gives us grave concern that Mr. Stokes is involved in supplying,” the officer said.

Other messages from the mobile phone read out in court included “I bought meth there, will you sell it for me” and “Enjoy buddy, it really is good, you’ve got well over half an ounce there,” while another message said: “Are you still looking for meth? I have booze here too.”

Police said that the defendant had denied any involvement in selling drugs and when interviewed said he had been “on the party” over the Christmas period.

The PSNI officer told the court bail was being opposed because Stokes had previously breached bail conditions and added that there was a concern that the defendant had “some kind of drug addiction” and was using prescription drugs.

Defence solicitor Seamus Quigley said his client had honoured the street bail and questioned the PSNI about the lack of any searches carried out at his client’s address.

The investigating officer said police felt a search wasn’t necessary last week, referring to the message on Stokes’ phone which said: “sold out til Friday.”

In reply, Mr. Quigley asked why no search had been carried out on Friday morning. Addressing District Judge Broderick the defence solicitor said his client had provided a stable address and had answered to street bail. Referring to the text messages Mr. Quigley said: “They are what they are.” He said his client is due to get married in February and asked the judge whether the risk of a breach could be properly managed, suggesting Stokes would engage with a drug treatment programme and surrender his mobile phone.

District Judge Broderick said that given the contents of the mobile phone he was concerned of the risk of reoffending and remanded Stokes in custody to appear again via videolink on January 23.