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Three jailed for running Coleraine cocaine factory next to family home

Two men and a woman from Coleraine have been sentenced to prison for offences related to the manufacture and supply of cocaine in a garage next to a family home.

Two men were sentenced for the drugs offences on Thursday, June 1 at Antrim Crown Court while the woman was sentenced in April. The PSNI noted that the cocaine factory was located in a garage next to house where children were living and said the defendants were "extremely irresponsible" to have risked exposing the children to toxic substances.

John McAuley, 35, from Coleraine, was  sentenced to 32 months imprisonment, 14 months in custody and 18 months on licence, after pleading guilty to being concerned in the production of a Class A controlled drug and conspiracy to supply a Class A drug at Antrim Crown Court.

Adrian Hanna, 34, also from Coleraine, was sentenced to 28 months imprisonment, 12 months in custody and 16 months on licence, after pleading guilty to being concerned in the production of a Class A controlled drug.

A third person, Tracey Hook, aged 31, who was Hanna’s partner at that time, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 3 years, on Tuesday 25 April, 2017, after pleading guilty to the offence of occupier of premises permitting production of a Class A controlled drug.

All three were arrested by officers as part of an investigation into Organised Crime in the Coleraine and Portstewart areas in February 2016. When police searched an address in Taylor’s Row in Coleraine, they found, in a locked garage, a cocaine press with traces of white powder, later identified as cocaine, two sets of Salter digital scales, a blender, 1.7kgs of cutting agents confirmed to be benzocaine, caffeine and creatine, multiple plastic bags, a knife, a pair of rubber gloves and a white plastic bucket. A small quantity of cocaine was also found in a bedroom.

Made drugs near children

Commenting on the culmination of the case, Detective Inspector Tom McClure, from PSNI’s Reactive and Organised Crime Branch, said: “The sentences handed down today to Adrian Hanna and John McAuley should act as a deterrent to those who are involved in the production of drugs in our communities. Cocaine was being produced in the garage of a house where young children were living. This was extremely irresponsible as those children could have been exposed to toxic substances".

The PSNI believes the trio were involved in "high end drugs supply", Det Insp McClure continued. "The presence of a cocaine press, professional blender and various cutting agents is indicative of involvement in high end drugs supply.

"We believe that our timely intervention has prevented the distribution of Class A drugs which always have the potential to cause serious harm.

"We will continue to seek out those individuals who are only interested in making money for their own personal gain and who do not care about the devastating impact drugs can have within our communities or the misery caused to the families of drug users.”

DI McClure urged anyone with information about the supply of illegal drugs to contact police on 101, or anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

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