Five on nightclub drug charges after police undercover probe
Published 18/04/2009 | 00:00
Undercover police officers were used in an operation against the alleged supply of cocaine at a Belfast nightclub, a court has heard.
A detective revealed details of the covert offensive yesterday as four men and a woman appeared on a series of drugs charges.
The accused included a mother-of-four and a man who allegedly told policewomen posing as clubbers that he was the second biggest coke dealer in Belfast.
Officers centred their test purchasing operation over two weekends between January and March at the Mynt premises near the Cathedral Quarter, the city’s Magistrates Court was told.
It was claimed evidence of involvement in Class A drugs — either cocaine or suspected ecstasy tablets — has been gathered against all five suspects, who deny the charges against them.
Items seized have also been sent to the Forensic Science Agency for testing, a detective confirmed.
Three suspects, Brian Downey (23) of Shankill Terrace, Robert Lewsley (28) from Claunmore Drive, and Patricia McArdle (36) of Thorndale Avenue, all in Belfast, were remanded in custody.
Micheal O’Brien (30) of Ardvanagh Court, Conlig, — who is accused of offering to supply cocaine — was released on continuing bail. Daniel Lee (21) of Marlborough Park Central, Belfast — who faces the same charge plus further allegations of possessing cannabis and anabolic steroids — was also granted bail but banned from any licensed premises. A detective constable from the PSNI claimed Downey, charged with offering to supply cocaine and three counts of supplying ecstasy, told undercover officers he could get them three grams of cocaine for £100.
“We have evidence Mr Downey claimed himself to be the second biggest coke dealer in Belfast,” he said.
But defence solicitor Dennis Boyd rejected the description, arguing it was an act of bravado by his client attempting to impress the women.
Mr Boyd said: “During the course of the night he was in conversation with three ladies who unfortunately for him turned out to be undercover police officers.
“This man being drunk, talking to three young and attractive girls, makes the case that he was trying to impress them.
“He was acting in a flirty way with these girls in relation to a conversation about these drugs.”
Opposing a bail application by McArdle, who is charged with two counts each of possessing and supplying cocaine, the detective claimed plastic bags used to wrap the drugs were found during a search of her home. More than £1,500 in cash was also seized.
All five suspects will appear again in court next month.