LATEST: Portstewart man accused of Province-wide drug dealing

Courts
Courts

A Portstewart man was remanded into custody on Wednesday accused of involvement in province wide drug dealing.

Standing in the dock of Craigavon Magistrates Court, 31-year-old Padraig Sean Mac Niallais spoke only to confirm that he understood the seven charges against him.

Mac Niallais, from Millrush Drive in the seaside town, is accused conspiring with others to supply class A cocaine, supplying cocaine and attempting to possess benzocaine to encourage or assist in the supply of cocaine on 20 November last year.

He is also accused of conspiring with others to supply class B herbal cannabis, actual supply of methyoxymethalone on 5 January this year, encouraging or assisting in the supply of class A cocaine on 30 July last year and one further charge of defrauding Certa Energy by claiming to be “James Turner” on 24 February this year.

The offences are alleged to have occurred in the different County Court divisions of Craigavon, Antrim and Londonderry.

Giving evidence to the court a detective constable said the charges arose from a large and “ongoing police investigation” and that he believed he could connect Mac Niallais to each of the charges.

He added that while other defendants have already been put before the courts, the “large majority” of cases will be dealt with in Belfast.

No application for bail was lodged with the court so District Judge Mervyn Bates remanded Mac Niallais into custody to appear again via videolink on 11 July.

Earlier the PSNI released a statement saying “The arrest was part of an ongoing and proactive operation by the PSNI’s Reactive and Organised Crime Branch against the sale and supply of drugs in Northern Ireland.

“The Police Service will continue to tackle the scourge of drugs in our communities as part of our commitment to keep people safe.”

One of the men named in the charges as a conspirator in supplying herbal cannabis is Belfast man 32-year-old Norman Black, from Loopland Drive, who faces accusation of possessing class B drugs and having them with intent to supply on 5 January this year.

Those charges follow the seizure of mephedrone and herbal cannabis with an estimated value of approximately £25,000, uncovered when a car was stopped and searched on the Frosses Road near Ballymoney.

When he was first charged, a detective how a search of the vehicle Black was driving uncovered a hold all in the boot which contained half a kilo of herbal cannabis and approximately 1.5 kg of a white powder which when tested, proved positive for the banned substance mephedrone, adding that the total value of the drugs is “in excess of £25,000.”