Eastern Europeans appear in court on heroin charges
Two eastern European men have appeared in court charged in connection with dealing heroin in Belfast.
Police said 10 wraps of the drug were discovered in Maris Ludborzs' body, while his co-accused Andrius Medzius had the same amount in his underwear.
Both men were arrested during an operation in the Alexandra Park Avenue area in the north of the city on Tuesday.
A detective told Belfast Magistrates' Court that the pair were linked to the supply of heroin in Belfast. He added: "There's a major public health crisis at the moment, and it's quite a danger to the public."
Ludborzs (40), a Latvian national with an address at Broadway in the city, and 45-year-old Medzius, a Lithuanian of no fixed abode, are both charged with possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply.
The two men were stopped and searched after police on patrol spotted a suspected suspicious interaction.
Although nothing was found at the scene, they were taken to a hospital for examinations.
Ten wraps of heroin with a street value of £250 were recovered from Medzius' underpants, the court heard. He was remanded into custody after his lawyer confirmed that his client planned to plead guilty.
According to the detective, another 10 wraps were found in Ludborzs' body. His barrister, Michael Boyd, said he accepted possession of the drugs, but denied any intent to supply.
Seeking bail for his client, Mr Boyd said: "He cannot remember very much about what happened. He believes the co-accused had given him these wraps and asked him to mind them for him."
Rejecting police concerns about a flight risk, Mr Boyd said Ludborzs had been in Northern Ireland for seven years working as a trained welder up until he suffered a serious accident at work earlier this month.
Granting bail, District Judge Liam McNally ordered Ludborzs to surrender his passport and provide a £1,000 cash surety before release.
Both defendants are due back in court next month.