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Carrickfergus pensioner and son accused of drug dealing for UDA

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Belfast Magistrates' Court (Niall Carson/PA)

Belfast Magistrates' Court (Niall Carson/PA)

Belfast Magistrates' Court (Niall Carson/PA)

A pensioner and his son have appeared in court on charges linked to alleged drug dealing on behalf of loyalist paramilitaries.

Norman Haggan, 75, and Norman Haggan Jnr, 41, were arrested after cannabis and cocaine was seized from a house in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim on Wednesday.

A detective told Belfast Magistrates' Court on Thursday a death threat has since been issued against one of the two accused.

The PSNI's Paramilitary Crime Task Force raided the address as part of investigations into the South East Antrim UDA.

A number of shotgun cartridges and a quantity of cash was also confiscated in the operation.

The father and son, both of Woodburn Avenue, Carrickfergus, are jointly charged with possessing Class B drugs with intent to supply, possession of Class A drugs, and possessing ammunition in suspicious circumstances.

Norman Haggan Snr faces further counts of having criminal property and permitting his home to be used for the supply of cannabis.

He was given police bail on medical grounds, but appeared in the dock alongside his son as the charges were put to them.

Opposing Norman Haggan Jnr's bid to be released from custody, a detective claimed he could endanger the public by committing further offences.

"Our assessment is that he's a drug dealer on behalf of the South East Antrim UDA," the detective said.

Judge Joe Rice was told the alleged activities were being carried out opposite a primary school.

Some of the drugs were located inside a box of crisps in the kitchen area of the property where a child also lives, according to police.

The detective revealed that a TM1 threat warning is to be served on one of the defendants once the suspected target is confirmed.

"The threat is that a Norman Haggan will be murdered," he said.

"We are in the process of trying to make inquiries whether that is Junior or Senior."

Defence counsel Paul Bacon said Norman Haggan Jnr has made admissions about drugs located at the property, including some found in a garden plant pot.

"He said 'I was under duress, people were asking me to hold these drugs, I had a drug debt to these people and I was trying to work that off," he submitted.

Dealing with the seized cartridges, the barrister insisted Norman Haggan Snr held a shotgun licence for more than 20 years.

The pensioner was told to return to court in four weeks time.

But his son was remanded in custody until then due to risks of further offending or obstructing the ongoing police investigation.

Refusing bail to Norman Haggan Jnr, Judge Rice told him: "There also seems to be a death threat against you."

Belfast Telegraph