Belfast Telegraph

Cocaine accused 'thought it was dope'

By Alan Erwin

An apprentice mechanic accused of smuggling £120,000 worth of cocaine into Northern Ireland thought he was bringing cannabis across the border, the High Court has heard.

Daniel Johnston allegedly agreed to act as a courier after running into financial problems, his lawyer said. The 25-year-old was among four men arrested after two cars were stopped at different locations on the A1 carriageway in Co Down last month.

Suspected cocaine packages were discovered in the engine compartment of a BMW he was driving, according to the prosecution. The drugs, weighing 2kg, have an estimated street value of £120,000.

"He was under the impression it was cannabis, a class B drug, which was the subject of this operation," his defence lawyer said.

During further searches at commercial premises said to have been rented by him and a co-accused, cannabis valued at £5,000 was found in a wall safe, the court heard.

Johnston, of Lough Road in Lisburn, Co Antrim, was refused bail by Mr Justice O'Hara.

Belfast Telegraph

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