Lorry driver accused of importing £400,000 of cannabis refused bail
A lorry driver accused of bringing £400,000 worth of herbal cannabis into Northern Ireland must remain in custody, a High Court judge ruled today.
John White (32) was refused bail over claims that he loaded up five boxes of the drugs while in England collecting bread for a supermarket delivery.
Police seized the consignment after it was transferred to a waiting car at a south Belfast retail park on April 7.
White, of Crew Road, Maghera, was arrested as he waited for his legitimate cargo to be unloaded at a Tesco distribution centre in the Boucher area.
He faces charges of having, supplying and conspiracy to supply Class B drugs.
Two other men detained in Belfast and Banbridge as part of the same police operation have also been charged with conspiracy to supply the cannabis.
The court was told White drove his Scania lorry to meet a man in a Volkswagen Passat after returning on the ferry from Cairnryan.
He was seen putting on surgical gloves to help transfer five boxes into the car, according to the prosecution.
Police later seized three packages from the co-accused's vehicle and two more at his home on Ghent Place.
Twenty kilos of the drugs, with an estimated £400,000 street value, was recovered in total.
Telephone evidence allegedly links the three suspects to the case.
In a prepared statement White admitted picking up boxes from a man to bring back to Northern Ireland.
But he claimed to have been unaware they contained drugs, thinking instead that the contents was only tobacco.
Although a £5,000 cash surety was proposed in a bid to secure his release, Lord Justice Higgins refused bail amid concerns of possible re-offending