Derry courthouse at Bishop Street.
A man who admitted storing 1.5kg of drugs in his home for a drug gang has been released on bail at Derry Magistrate’s Court.
The defendant, granted anonymity due to an active threat against drug dealers in the city, is one of numerous individuals involved in a ‘large case’.
A police officer told the court that a property was searched in June where 1.5kg of herbal cannabis was located.
During police interview the defendant ‘didn’t provide an account’ and ‘wasn’t willing to identify anyone else involved’.
He did however tell officers that he was holding the drugs for another person for the fee of £300.
Police objected to bail due to the seriousness of the offences and the PSNI believes the accused supplies drugs ‘for the benefit of an organised crime gang’.
The officer added that the defendant is ‘under pressure from the gang’.
Referring to his criminal record, a police officer said the accused was last convicted in 2002 and has no convictions for drug related offences.
Deputy District Judge McStay informed the police officer that a distinction would have to be made between this defendant and others linked to the case who have been admitted to bail.
In response, the officer said this defendant admitted possession of 1.5.kg of drugs.
Defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott accepted that other defendants had small amounts of drugs but said the quantity was the ‘only real difference’.
He said his client’s record stops 20 years and asked for bail to be granted subject to conditions.
Everyone has been granted bail, Mr MacDermott added, except the alleged ring leader.
The defence solicitor said those who handle the drugs are ‘normally lower down the food chain’.
He argued that phones have to be examined and that will take a long time.
Judge McStay was ‘concerned’ about the large quantity saying the defendant could be a ‘trusted lieutenant’ but the ‘main players do tend to keep themselves at arm’s length’.
He decided to grant the defendant his own bail of £500 with a £3,000 surety.
A police officer asked that he be bailed to an address outside the city because of the threat against drug dealers.
However, the judge agreed to grant the defendant bail to an address in Derry with the belief that an anonymity order ‘will do the trick’.
He will have a curfew of 7pm-7am, electronic tag, is permitted to have one phone with no internet access and must sign at a local police station three times per week.
His case will appear before the court again on July 22.
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