Northern Ireland news

Man accused of supplying cocaine refused bail

The High Court in Belfast

A WELDER accused of regularly supplying cocaine to undercover police allegedly discussed obtaining "colossal" quantities, the High Court heard yesterday.

Gareth Patrick Collins is charged with carrying out eight separate deals in Cookstown, Co Tyrone involving officers posing as customers.

Prosecuors claimed the 29-year-old is heavily linked to the cocaine trade in the area.

Collins, of Beechway in Cookstown, faces a total of 19 charges, including multiple counts of possessing and supplying a Class A drug.

He is also accused of having criminal property.

The alleged offences were committed on dates between February 16 and October 10.

During a bail hearing Crown lawyer Mark Farrell said Collins was arrested following a covert police operation involving audio and video recordings.

"On eight occasions he supplied cocaine to undercover police officers," Mr Farrell claimed.

It was alleged that during one encounter Collins talked about supplying half a kilo of the drug.

"This is a colossal sum in terms of weight," Mr Farrell contended.

The court heard 60g of cocaine was found hidden in the sill area of Collins' car.

Police also seized £3,000 in cash from the home of the accused.

"It's believed he has been heavily involved in the supply of cocaine in the Cookstown area," the prosecutor added.

Defence barrister Craig Patton claimed that his client's alleged discussions were in response to repeated requests by undercover police officers about higher purity and larger amounts.

Refusing bail, Mr Justice O'Hara cited Collins alleged failure to co-operate by providing a phone code following his arrest.

He ruled: "In this case there's a substantial risk of re-offending."

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