City ban for suspected Belfast heroin dealers
Two men accused of supplying heroin in Belfast are to be banned from entering the city centre, a judge ordered today.
The exclusion zone was imposed as William Bothwell, 26, and Eimeid Mulholland, 20, were both granted bail.
The pair appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court following a covert police surveillance operation targeting suspected heroin dealers.
A third defendant, 33-year-old Lithuanian national Artiomas Cerepanovas, was remanded in custody.
All three men were arrested on Monday, while a number of properties in the city were also searched.
Bothwell, of Springfield Road in Belfast, is charged with supplying heroin and being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug between December 2016 and April 2017.
Mulholland, from Rosapenna Walk in the city, faces a single count of supplying the drug in February this year.
The court heard both men are battling addiction, and deny being dealers.
Defence solicitor Keith Gamble, representing Bothwell, insisted there was no link to any major drug gang.
"Clips of video footage and covert surveillance shown to the defendants seem to be a number of street deals taking place," he said.
"My client's contention is that he was purchasing for himself."
Granting bail to Bothwell and Mulholland, Deputy District Judge Laura Ievers said she was prepared to take a chance due to the efforts to overcome their addictions.
But she told both: "You are not allowed within Belfast city centre."
Cerepanovas, of no fixed address, is charged with supplying heroin three times in February and March this year, and being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug.
His lawyer, Brian Archer, confirmed he was not seeking bail because his client is already in custody for other matters.
Judge Ievers remanded Cerepanovas to appear again next month.
Belfast Telegraph Digital