Northern Ireland news

Duo facing charges linked to £150,000 drugs seizure freed on bail

Laganside Court in Belfast

TWO Dunmurry men have appeared in court on offences arising from the seizure of £150,000 worth of drugs.

Patrick McGinley (28) and Francis McCourt (36) were detained following the stop and search of a vehicle near Belfast and the subsequent search of a property on Tuesday.

The pair appeared at Belfast Magistrates Court via a custody videolink.

Both McGinley, from Mill Pond Glen, and McCourt, from Glenbawn Walk, have been charged with offences including possessing cocaine with intent to supply and possessing cannabis with intent to supply, possessing criminal property and possessing ammunition in suspicious circumstances.

A detective constable told District Judge Liam McStay that officers stopped a van on Kingsway on Tuesday the two accused were in the vehicle. Whilst McCourt admitted he had cocaine on him, a small amount of cannabis was located inside a box the van. During a follow-up search of an apartment in Dunmurry, further quantities of both the Class A and Class B drugs were located, along with £2,000.

A single shotgun cartridge was also located which the policewoman said was "indicative of criminality".

Police opposed bail saying there had been 15 deaths in Belfast in July caused by the supply of drugs.

"The drug seizures in this case are by no means insignificant - we're talking about over a kilogram of what police believe to be high-grade cocaine, and in the region of six kilograms of herbal cannabis," the officer told the court.

Defence lawyer Peter Corrigan, representing McCourt, asked that his client be released. Citing a lack of any criminal record, Mr Corrigan said his client was not "some hardened drug dealer" and would abide by any conditions imposed.

Judge McStay agreed to release both men on their own bail of £1,000 with an additional £5,000 cash surety. They were ordered not to leave Northern Ireland and to surrender their passports, obey a 10am to 7pm curfew and report to police three times a week.

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