Belfast Telegraph

Husband and wife among four accused over £450k drug haul

Four people have appeared in court following a major drugs bust worth almost £500,000.

Cocaine and cannabis, with a street value of £450,000, were seized from a number of locations across Lisburn on Friday, including from a drugs factory at the home of a married couple.

Cash totalling £50,000 was also discovered by officers during the searches.

Husband and wife Mario Morelli (37) and Tanya O'Halloran (27), of Llewellyn Avenue in Lisburn, were yesterday charged at Lisburn Magistrates Court with having cocaine with intent to supply. They were remanded in custody.

A detective told the court that police found a drugs factory in the couple's home on Friday.

Morelli and O'Halloran, who were recently married, were also charged with having two Taser stun guns, concealing criminal property and having cannabis with intent to supply.

O'Halloran cried as lawyers discussed her bail application.

Another man, Mark McAleese (35), of Johnston Way in Lisburn, was also remanded in custody charged with having cocaine with intent to supply.

Conor Reilly (35), from Tromery Drive, Crumlin, appeared separately in court charged with being in possession of cocaine with intent. He was released on bail.

The four were arrested on Friday following an operation in the Lisburn area by officers from the PSNI's Organised Crime Branch.

It was the latest in a number of major drug busts by police in Ulster.

Last week two brothers were arrested following the discovery of £120,000 worth of cocaine during searches in Bangor, Belfast and Coleraine.

Andrew Stephen Black (21) and Michael Paul Black (31), of Cranfield Court, Portstewart, were charged with a number of offences, including conspiracy to supply. Three other men were also arrested and charged in connection with the drugs seizure.

And in October three men and a woman were remanded in custody after police seized an estimated £230,000 worth of cocaine and ecstasy in the Greater Belfast area.

A judge described the seizure as among the gravest alleged offences of its kind to come before the courts in recent times.

The suspects were charged with a combined total of 30 offences, including possession with intent to supply and conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

Lisa Murray (29) of St James' Meadow, Crumlin; Christopher Hanna (28) from Poplar Road, Crumlin; Andrew Wilson Smith (31) of Elmwood Cottages, Newtownabbey, and 18-year-old Joseph Martin, of Orchardville Crescent, Belfast, were arrested during a PSNI operation which involved a car being stopped on the Grosvenor Road, Belfast.

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