‘Major participant’ in drugs trade granted anonymity order at Derry court

editorial image

A court has heard claims that a man accused of supplying ecstasy, cocaine and ketamine is a “major participant” in the local drugs trade.

The defendant, who cannot be named after District Judge Barney McElholm granted an anonymity order, is charged with being concerned in supply of class A drugs and possession of mephedrone on February 19.

He is further charged with possessing false driving licences and apparatus to make false identification documents on the same date.

The application for anonymity was made on the basis of a “perceived threat from certain criminal groups” .

Granting the order Judge McElholm said “That threat is still very much to the fore. Nothing I have heard has diminished the serious nature of that threat”.

Derry Magistrates Court heard allegations that police searched the man’s home under the Misuse of Drugs Act and seized numerous items including mobile phones, computers and a small quantity of suspected mephedrone.

An officer claimed that one of the mobile phones which has been in use since January was analysed and 2,000 text messages were found on it. She alleged that 60 per cent of these messages were related to drugs including ecstasy, speed, cannabis, cocaine and ketamine.

The court heard further claims that a substantial amount of money was also mentioned in the messages.

During the search the court heard that police also discovered false driving licences, which currently sell for between £50 and £150, and equipment to make them.

She told the court that during police interview the accused made no comment to the drugs offences but admitted the false ID documents.

Opposing bail, the officer said police believe the man is a “major participant” in the drugs trade and may commit further offences or interfere with witnesses or potential suspects.

She added that drugs currently in supply have “extreme side affects” and are causing young people to be hospitalised.

The officer accepted that the accused doesn’t have any drug convictions, however she said such people were being used to supply drugs in the city to avoid police detection.

Defence solicitor Keith Kyle applied for his client to be released on bail, stating he could spend up to a year on remand before the case is ready for hearing.

Refusing bail, District Judge Barney McElholm said the “supply of drugs within the city is an ever increasing problem. This young man is clearly involved in different types of criminal activity”.

He said he could think of no conditions the court could impose that would alleviate police concerns.

The man was remanded in custody and will appear in court again via videolink at a later date.