Box of chocolates posted to Belfast contained £900,000 of cocaine, court hears
Candy box posted to Belfast from South America stuffed with cocaine, court told
A £900,000 consignment of cocaine destined for Belfast was posted from South America inside a box of chocolates, the High Court heard.
Prosecutors said the package was seized after being intercepted by customs officials in French Guiana.
Two Nigerian men allegedly then tried to gain access to a vacant south Belfast rental address where the drugs were being sent to.
Ndubuishi Onwu and Ike Emezina, both aged 35, are each charged with importing cocaine and converting criminal property.
During bail applications the court heard the drugs were discovered last October inside a package containing glass and chocolates which was to be sent to a house at Melrose Street.
With a 68% purity, a prosecution lawyer said the cocaine would be valued at £900,000 once cut down to standard street levels.
Two weeks after the interception, a man arranged with an estate agency to view the rental property. According to the prosecution, Onwu, who also has an address at Melrose Street, carried out the inspection in a bid to pick up the package or a delivery note from the house.
It was claimed that after his retrieval attempt failed, co-accused Emezina, of Antrim Road in the city, was persuaded to try to gain access.
He allegedly told the estate agent that he used to live in the property and had been expecting a parcel.
The two accused, both described as failed asylum seekers, were arrested last month as part of the police investigation into the incident.
Onwu has denied any involvement, while Emezina claimed he refused requests to try to get into the house. Lord Justice Coghlin was also told the probe has widened to examine 27 money transfers to South America for a total of $21,000.
He adjourned the pair's applications for bail after being told identification parades involving the estate agency staff have yet to take place.