Belfast grandfather on drugs-related charges bailed
A grandfather charged in connection with the suspected seizure of £40,000 worth of cannabis and £34,000 in cash can be released on bail, a High Court judge ruled on Wednesday, May 24.
Eamon McGrath, 53, was arrested last week after police stopped a car he was driving on the M1 motorway and discovered the money in £1,000 bundles.
Two kilos of herbal cannabis were then discovered in a wheelie bin close to his mobile home at Old Westland Road in Belfast.
McGrath denies charges of possessing criminal property, conspiracy to supply and conspiracy to possess Class B drugs with intent.
He was behind the wheel of a Ford Focus pulled over between Sprucefield and Moira on May 16, the court heard.
Crown lawyer Natalie Pinkerton said he informed officers that a package in the back seat contained £34,000 in cash.
McGrath claimed he was taking the money to a hotel in Armagh on behalf of his son to buy catering equipment for a business venture.
Searches carried out at his home and a neighbouring property led to the drugs being found in a bin.
While police were at the scene, two men appeared and claimed to be refuse collectors there to empty the bins, according to the prosecutor.
Opposing bail, Ms Pinkerton contended: "Police believe there's a criminal gang involved.
"Given the quantities, it seems this applicant was trusted with a significant amount of cash."
Defence counsel Jonathan Browne argued that the drugs were discovered in an area others could have accessed.
He insisted no forensic evidence links his client to the cannabis haul.
Questioned about the cash seized from the car, Mr Browne explained that McGrath helps out with his son's restaurant and shop fitting business.
Granting bail, Mr Justice Maguire cited the accused's lack of any record for related offences.
He ordered McGrath to put up a £5,000 cash surety, and abide by a curfew and electronic monitoring.
Belfast Telegraph Digital