Drug mule suspect had cocaine haul hidden inside her on ferry to Northern Ireland, court hears
Half of a potential £100,000 haul of cocaine allegedly shipped into Northern Ireland from England was hidden internally by a female suspect, the High Court heard today.
The package was close to bursting inside her by the time medical staff removed it following a police raid in Antrim, prosecutors revealed.
It was claimed the woman had been used as a mule in a plot involving the drugs being brought over on the ferry from Liverpool.
Details emerged as the man alleged to have been the Northern Irish link to the suspected racket applied for bail.
William Gracey, 36, of Millhouse Gardens, Antrim faces charges of possessing Class A drugs and possession with intent to supply.
He was arrested and charged along with two other men and a woman after police swooped on a house in the town's Greystone area at the end of August.
A fourth man was subsequently detained and charged.
Apart from Gracey, all of the other suspects are from Liverpool.
It was alleged that they all travelled with him on the ferry from before going on to the house where the drugs were found.
The court heard that one package was discovered in the property and a second hidden inside the 42-year-old woman.
Prosecution counsel Kate McKay said: "When hospital staff removed the drugs from her the package was literally about to open and she could have been in some danger."
She told Mr Justice Treacy the 250g of cocaine recovered has a conservative estimated street value of £40,000-£60,000.
But depending on how it was cut up the drugs could be worth up to £100,000.
Setting out Gracey's alleged role, the barrister added: "Police understanding from the evidence is that he was really the Northern Ireland person who organised this."
But Desmond Fahy, defending, stressed the allegations were denied.
He said Gracey, who previously ran a restaurant cleaning business, legitimately travelled to Liverpool to see his partner.
According to his account he met the other accused on the ferry and offered to let them spend time at the Antrim property before heading on to their destination.
Gracey's bail application was adjourned for police to check out a job offer advanced in court.
Mr Justice Treacy cautioned: "If it turns out that it isn't genuine it will have implications for the court's decision on bail."