Alleged Comber 'drugs factory boss' refused bail
The alleged head of a cannabis growing operation worth in excess of £600,000 must remain in custody, a High Court judge has ruled.
Luong Bui (40), of Lisburn Road in south Belfast, was refused bail amid claims he ran factories across Northern Ireland - including one in a warehouse with living quarters.
Bui, originally from Vietnam but now a British citizen, faces charges of conspiracy to supply and produce Class B drugs, being concerned in their production, possessing criminal property, dishonestly using electricity, and assisting unlawful immigration.
The alleged offences were committed between April 1 and December 5, when police raided an industrial unit on the Glen Road in Comber, Co Down.
Crown lawyer Natalie Pinkerton said the warehouse had been divided into 10 rooms split over two floors.
Officers seized 1,200 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of £600,000. Other, smaller-scale cannabis-growing facilities were uncovered at residential properties in the Four Winds area of Belfast and Coalisland, Co Tyrone.
Ms Pinkerton described Bui as "the head of the organisation".
"It is believed that this is part of a high-end organised crime gang operating both in the north and south (of Ireland)," she said.
Mr Justice Maguire denied bail, citing the risk of re-offending. Having studied photos of the scale of the growing facilities, he said: "This was not some sort of hole in the wall-type operation."