Belfast Telegraph

Drug runner

jailed for eight years

ONE of Northern Ireland's top drugs couriers has been jailed for eight

years after admitting he smuggled Ecstasy tablets with a street value of

years after admitting he smuggled Ecstasy tablets with a street value of more than £800,000 into the province.

Judge Randal McKay told 22-year-old Saintfield man, John Alexander Ferguson, that he was imposing a strong deterrent sentence.

Judge McKay told Ferguson yesterday: "You acted as the principal organiser in the supply of illegal drugs to Northern Ireland".

Ferguson, of Crossgar Road, Saintfield, admitted 17 charges including five counts of supplying drugs when he appeared at Downpatrick Crown Court, sitting in Newtownards.

He also admitted what the judge described as three specimen charges involving smuggling hundreds of thousands of pounds in counterfeit notes into Northern Ireland.

Sentence on Ferguson had been deferred until yesterday to allow a plea of mitigation to be made on his behalf.

A defence QC said without Ferguson's admissions police would not have been able to bring the prosecutions.

He said Ferguson was entitled to credit for pleading guilty at the first opportunity, for "making a clean breast" of all he was involved in and for the assistance he has been able to give police.

At the earlier court hearing Judge McKay was told Ferguson made confessions to a string of offences including drug trafficking, smuggling counterfeit money, ringing cars and burglaries after police raided his home on July 16 last year.

Ferguson also admitted conspiring to set up a deal to buy 13 kilos of cannabis for £24,000.

He also confessed to police that he had brought in counterfeit money to Northern Ireland from England.



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