Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Coded texts used in £2m drugs deal, court hears

A code-breaking statement has been obtained as part of the case against men allegedly involved in importing £2m worth of drugs into Northern Ireland, the High Court has heard.

But a judge granted bail to |one of the suspects after police were unable to show him information to back up claims of telephone traffic between some of the accused.

Mr Justice Hart ordered a £120,000 cash surety to be lodged before Barry Kavanagh (30) could be released to live at an address |in Belfast.

The court heard Kavanagh, of no fixed address, could not return to his native Londonderry because he is under a death threat.

Kavanagh was among eight men charged in connection with an alleged conspiracy to supply drugs seized in February.

Large quantities of cocaine, amphetamines and herbal cannabis were recovered after police tracked a consignment from the north of England to Annalong, Co Down.

Detectives and crime fighting agencies on both sides of the Irish Sea mounted a year-long surveillance operation before the arrests were made.

Kavanagh denies the alleged offences, but in court yesterday a prosecuting lawyer claimed mobile phone communications link him to the couriers. Covert text messages were sent between him and a co-accused, it was claimed.

Barry Gibson, defending, said Kavanagh gave an explanation for the texts following his arrest at a flat in Belfast. Mr Gibson said his client could stay at an apartment close to Grosvenor Road PSNI station in Belfast.

He added: “There is a threat on his life from persons within the city of Derry.”

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