‘Major player’ in crime gang in court on drug charges

Court
Court

A man described as a ‘major player’ in an organised crime gang has appeared in court accused of drugs offences.

Derry Magistrates Court heard allegations that 32-year-old Declan Gallagher, arranged and organised the supply of drugs into Northern Ireland on a regular basis.

An investigating officer claimed police have evidence linking Gallagher to six major drug seizures in the last year, with a value of £2.1million.

District Judge Barney McElholm banned the press from publishing the defendant’s exact address.

He did this after the investigating officer confirmed that Gallagher left Northern Ireland six years ago because he was shot, his house was blown up and his dog was shot.

Gallagher, who has an address in Greater Manchester, faces a total of seventeen drugs offences between an unknown date in 2013 and October this year.

They include importing cocaine, conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis and bring concerned in the supply of class A and class B drugs.

It is alleged the offences were committed in Derry, Antrim, Ards, Fermanagh, Tyrone, South Down, Armagh and Belfast.

The investigating officer said police believe they have a ‘strong case’ against Gallagher which includes telecommunications evidence, surveillance and CCTV footage.

He opposed a bail application stating police fear the 32-year-old may commit further offences to recoup ‘significant’ financial losses.

The officer said police also have concerns that Gallagher may flee or interfere with the police investigation, which is continuing.

It was also revealed to the court that Gallagher has a 2004 conviction for possessing drugs with intent to supply.

Defence solicitor, Paddy MacDermott, said the case will take some time before it is before the court for trial and his client ‘could languish in custody for months and months’.

He applied for Gallagher to be released to an address in England with stringent conditions.

District Judge Barney McElholm refused bail for fear of further offences, fears of interfering with witnesses and risk.

He also refused it in the public interest.

The judge said ‘children of this community are being poisoned on a day and daily basis by illegal drugs. The court has to view any such allegations very seriously’.

Gallagher was remanded in custody to appear in court via video link on November 6.