Three jailed for 'substantial' Belfast cannabis operation
Three Chinese men who admitted involvement in a "substantial" operation to sell cannabis on a commercial scale have been jailed for a total of seven-and-a-half years.
Handing two-and-a-half-year terms each to Hong Lin and Chun Chen and Ya Ding at Belfast Crown Court, Judge Gordon Kerr QC ordered the forfeiture of £20,000 which police uncovered in the operation.
The three men were arrested after cops raided a properties in Magdala Street and Roseberry Street in June last year.
Prosecution lawyer David Russell told the court how cops initially uncovered just 296g of cannabis wrapped in cling film, but that they also found £10,375 and €10,380 in cash.
During a raid two weeks later, while police were at the house a package was delivered and when it was opened it was found to contain 5kg of herbal cannabis.
Chen, Lin - both aged 28 - and Ding, 30, whose addresses were given as the house at Magdala Street, were all arrested and later pleaded guilty to possessing class B cannabis with intent to supply, possessing and transferring criminal property.
Mr Russell revealed that on the day of the first search £20,000 had been transferred and described that "the picture one gets from the find at the scene and the money involved that this was a relatively significant operation".
Ordering the three men to serve half their sentences in jail and half on licence, Judge Kerr echoed those sentiments, telling them that "each in their own way played a significant role in this operation".