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Driver stopped with £100,000 of cocaine refused bail

The High Court has heard searches of a vehicle led to the recovery of two kilos of cocaine in packages  
Staff Reporter

A DRIVER stopped in Co Down with at least £100,000 worth of cocaine hidden in his van must remain in custody, a judge has ruled.

Liam McAnoy was refused bail despite insisting he knew nothing about the drugs discovered in a secret compartment.

The 34-year-old, of Prospect Park in Belfast, claims he was pressured into travelling across the border to pay off a £1,500 debt from his own habit.

McAnoy is charged with possessing cocaine with intent to supply following the seizure on October 9.

Prosecutor Philip Henry said on Wednesday that the accused was shivering, uneasy and sweating profusely when police stopped him in the Ford Transit on the A1 near Hillsborough.

Searches of the vehicle led to the recovery of two kilos of cocaine in packages, the High Court heard.

McAnoy told police he was unaware of the consignment, claiming at first he crossed the border to get car parts.

Later, according to Mr Henry, he changed his account to say he had gone to the Republic to pay a drug debt.

It was contended, however, that he must have known about the cocaine because of the complexity and sophistication of the secret compartment.

Opposing bail, Mr Henry alleged: "From the circumstances presented the defendant is part of an organisation in relation to this drugs distribution."

Defence counsel insisted McAnoy only made the trip to pay off money owed.

"The case he has put forward is that he was pressed into this," the barrister said.

"He was making a delivery of cash... he was completely unaware that drugs had been stored in the vehicle itself."

Refusing bail, Mr Justice Horner held there was a risk McAnoy could become involved with any drugs gang once more.

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