Northern Ireland news

Man 'caught red handed'' with £190,000 worth of cocaine

Jackie Paul Kirkwood (45) had previously pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply

A MAN "caught red handed'' with £190,000 worth of cocaine has been jailed for 18 months.

Jackie Paul Kirkwood (45), of Everogue Lane in Crossgar, had previously pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply and possessing Class B and C drugs.

He further admitted driving whilst disqualified and driving with no insurance.

Judge Patricia Smyth handed Kirkwood a three year sentence for drug dealing, divided equally between custody and probation.

The Belfast Recorder also imposed a consecutive sentence of one year in custody for driving whilst disqualified.

The judge told Kirkwood: "You have 214 previous convictions, 95 for road traffic offences. This was your 35th conviction for driving whilst disqualified.

"You completely disregarded an order of the court. It is a clear that you are a man who has no regard for the law.''

Belfast Crown Court heard police stopped Kirkwood driving a Yamaha X City moped on the Beersbridge Road in east Belfast at 1.30pm on November 10 2021, and found almost 2kg of cocaine in a storage compartment under the seat.

A total of 23 yellow tablets were also found during the search of his home, along with weighing scales and "dealer bags''.

"We can't say that this defendant was any more than a courier. We have no evidence to say that is incorrect," Prosecutor Natalie Pinkerton said.

"But couriers play a vital role in crimes of this nature and crimes of this nature can't be completed without couriers.''

Defence counsel Richard McConkey said Kirkwood was "moving the drugs from A to B but was not involved in the organisation of this drug concern''.

"He did not know the amount of drugs or the purity of the drugs, why would he? He knew he was transporting drugs.''

The court heard that when stopped by police, Kirkwood was out of prison on licence and this was revoked for breaching its terms.

The barrister said since Kirkwood has been in prison his son had died and was unable to attend the funeral.

"He was effectively caught red handed by police. People in the organisation of drugs don't drive around on a moped with the drugs and get caught by police.

"He was clearly used and could be described as a 'patsy' in this enterprise. He has serious regrets about his involvement in the commission of these offences as a courier,'' added Mr McConkey.

Judge Smyth ordered a destruction of all drugs and drug-related paraphernalia.


Northern Ireland news