Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool man accused of supplying £100,000 of cocaine 'must remain in custody'

By Alan Erwin

A Liverpool man accused of supplying £100,000 worth of cocaine destined for the Northern Irish drugs market must remain in custody, a High Court judge ruled today.

Alan Gerrard was refused bail amid claims he played a key role in smuggling the consignment across the Irish Sea, prosecutors claimed.

He was arrested last month along with four other suspects following a surveillance operation involving National Crime Agency officers.

Gerrard, 54, of Hare Croft, Liverpool, faces a charge of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Police seized 1.5 kg of cocaine, with an estimated street value of £100,000, after stopping a Volkwagen Golf driven by a co-accused on the A1 near Newry on November 3.

Weeks earlier a third suspected member of the gang, a 38-year-old Belfast man, withdrawn £34,000 in cash from his bank account, the court heard.

It was claimed that this money was then taken to Gerrrard in Liverpool.

The cocaine was then collected and brought by ferry to the Irish Republic before being moved north of the border.

Gerrard was later detained and transferred to Northern Ireland to be questioned and charged.

Opposing bail, prosecution lawyer Kate McKay claimed he was linked to the drugs plot by CCTV, witness and telephone evidence.

"It's believed this man played a key role in the criminal enterprise," she said.

A piece of paper with names on it found hidden in a mobile phone seized from him is suspected to refer to dealing figures, the court heard.

It was also alleged that police have evidence of £10,000 in cash having been sent to Gerrard from other people in Northern Ireland this year.

But a defence barrister described the accused as a self-employed roofer who runs a "small-time tobacco entrepreneurship" posting quantities across the Irish Sea.

He also stressed that the surveillance operation had not shown any money being passed to Gerrard.

The accused's wife and three other sureties were each prepared to put up £5,000 in a bid to secure his release.

However, Mr Justice Horner ruled that he was not suitable for bail.

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