Accused admits being ‘small time dealer’

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A 25-year-old man has appeared in court accused of supplying cannabis and mephedrone.

Ryan Charles Joseph Johnston, of Fergleen park, is further charged with being concerned in an offer to supply class B drugs and simple possession of drugs.

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

The offences were allegedly committed between September 2012 and November 25, this year.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard allegations that police seized a phone in a separate investigation in 2012 which contained messages relating to drug supply from a ‘Ryan J’.

This person’s identity was never established.

In Feburary this year, Johnston was arrested for public order offences and when other officers overheard a radio transmission they suspencted he might be the person involved.

The court was told the 25-year-old was searched in police custody and a small amount of drugs were found.

His mobile phone was also seized, however it had a pass code and this was not provided to police.

Johnston was released on police bail and he allegedly posted a comment on Facebook a few hours later trying to find out ‘if cops can still get into your phone if you have a password on it’.

He also allegedly advised other poeple to ‘get rid of their phone’ because the police would ‘go through his with a fine tooth comb’.

Earlier this week, police officers searched two addresses in the city linked to Johnston.

It is alleged there was a strong smell of cannabis in one of them and small weighing scales.

During interview, Johnston allegedly told police he was addicted to drugs and would supply them to a ‘handful of friends’.

He also claimed he would take one or two ounces of mpehedrone at the weekend and an investigating officer said this would have a street value of £1,000.

Opposing bail, the officer said police feared the 25-year-old will re-offend.

Defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott said his client admitted to being a ‘small time dealer’ to feed his own habit and he had ‘no trappings of wealth’.

He added that Johnston was a man with a drug problem and it would be ‘unfair to put him in custody because of the fact he is an addict’.

District Judge Barney McElholm released the 25-year-old on bail with a number of conditions to appear in court again on December 16.