Belfast Telegraph

Drugs haul accused's lives could be under threat: PSNI

By Alan Erwin

The lives of a couple charged over the discovery of a suspected cocaine factory are at risk, a court heard.

Police claimed Patrick Auld and Una McClory could be under threat following the seizure of £600,000 worth of drugs and £300,000 in cash during raids on two houses in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim. Three Mercedes cars, two Taser stun-guns and a cocaine press were also confiscated in an operation carried out on Wednesday and Thursday.

Auld, a 33-year-old telephonist, and his shop manager partner McClory (31) were arrested and jointly charged with converting and concealing criminal property, along with having class A, B and C drugs with intent to supply.

Auld faces further counts of being concerned in the production of cocaine and amphetamines, and possession of a prohibited weapon. As the pair, both with an address at Dalewood in Newtownabbey, appeared together in the dock at Belfast Magistrates Court, a policeman revealed what was found during the operation.

He said the first house searched at Ballyhenry Avenue contained no furniture, just large quantities of cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines, cannabis and diazepam.

Nearly all of the seized cash was located at that address.

The court heard Auld arrived with a key to the property as police were carrying out their raid.

Another £13,500 in cash was then recovered from the couple's family home in nearby Dalewood.

Auld was said to have claimed the drugs belonged to other "senior personalities" and that he only became involved under duress.

Opposing bail, the officer detailed an alleged previous threat to kill the accused over owing £12,000.

"Following the police seizures that debt could be increased to hundreds of thousands of pounds," he said.

According to the officer, both defendants could flee if bailed because they may feel under threat.

Defence solicitor Mark O'Connor said Auld provided a full account to police. Also seeking McClory's release, he stressed that she has a four-month-old child with her co-accused.

Granting bail for her to live at her mother's home, the judge identified distinctions in the case against the pair. Auld, however, was remanded in custody due to the police concerns. Both accused are due back in court on February 20.

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