Three in court over €1.1m cocaine seizure

Three men appeared in court today charged in connection with a £750,000 (€1.1m) cocaine seizure from a “drugs factory” in Northern Ireland.

Three men appeared in court today charged in connection with a £750,000 (€1.1m) cocaine seizure from a “drugs factory” in Northern Ireland.

The men, Fergal Toal, 42, unemployed, from Old Grange, Desert Lane, Armagh: Conor Donnelly, 35, a tiler from Rhone Road, Moy, near Dungannon, CoTyrone and John Moloney, 57, unemployed from Grangemore, Lislevane, Co Cork, were remanded in custody for a month when they appeared at Dungannon Magistrates Court.

All the men face the same two charges, possession of Class A drugs, namely cocaine, and possession with intent to supply.

The court heard that five kilos of pure cocaine and a kilo of cut cocaine were found when police raided Mr Donnelly’s house on Tuesday.

The “drugs factory” was found on the upper floor of a two-storey detached garage on the premises, the court was told.

Following the seizure gardaí, in a linked operation, seized up to 7kg of cocaine in Co Cork.

An application for bail for Mr Donnelly was rejected by Magistrate Rosemary Watters on the grounds that he might abscond or re-offend.

His solicitor Kieran Quinn said his client had denied involvement throughout four interviews with police.

He said his client “knew what was going on in his premises”, but alleged he was being “used” by others.

Objecting to bail, a lawyer for the Director of Public Prosecutions said: “This was a very sizeable seizure of drugs, £750,000 (€1.1m) of cocaine. There were five kilos of pure cocaine, one kilo of cut cocaine and a quantity of materials for cutting the drug.

“Mr Donnelly was right in the middle of this process.”

The magistrate rejected bail saying it was because: “Such a huge amount of cocaine and such a huge amount of money was involved.”

She said because of the amounts there was a likelihood of the accused absconding or coming under pressure to re-offend to re-coup the loss.

Paul Dougan, acting for Mr Toal, failed in a bid to get the magistrate to ban reporting of his client’s address. Ms Watters said she had no powers to make such a ruling.

She also refused to refer the case to the DPP on the grounds of contempt of court because of reporting about Mr Toal in morning newspapers ahead of the case which Mr Dougan said had contained: “The most salacious details.”

The men will re-appear before the same court by video link on May 18.

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