Belfast Telegraph

Alleged heroin dealer targeted by undercover police 'travelled to South Africa to try and beat addiction'

By Alan Erwin

An alleged heroin dealer targeted by undercover police officers in Belfast travelled to South Africa in a bid to beat his own addiction, the High Court heard today.

Kevin McCrory took part in a month-long detoxification programme in Cape Town after he was allegedly caught up in the sting operation.

The 40-year-old, of Pretoria Street, Belfast, faces charges of possessing and supplying Class A drugs, along with acquiring criminal property.

The case against him forms part of a major police initiative against the sale of heroin in the city.

Specialist recording equipment, including hidden cameras, were used in the crackdown earlier this year.

During a bail application prosecutors claimed McCrory sold two wraps of heroin for £50 to an undercover officer on February 18.

The exchange was said to have taken place in a car on Cromwell Road.

McCrory is alleged to have produced the drug packages from his mouth, the court heard.  

With no arrest taking place until April, Mr Justice Stephens was told the accused travelled to South Africa in the intervening period.

Defence barrister Jonathan Browne said his client's life has been "blighted" by drug addiction.

Based on a relative's previous experiences at the specialist clinic in Cape Town, a decision was taken to raise £4,000 for him to attend.

"The family have put their money where their mouth is by financing this man's detox in South Africa," Mr Browne said.

After being weaned off illegal drugs and substitute substances McCrory then decided he could return to Northern Ireland, according to his lawyer.

However, Mr Justice Stephens adjourned the bail application until more is known about the accused's own family situation.

He said: "I wouldn't countenance a bail address with children unless social services have approved that as suitable for a person who is a drug addict."

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