Belfast Telegraph

Dungannon man charged over 'sophisticated' drugs operation facing trial

by staff reporter

A Dungannon man is to stand trial on charges related to what has been described as "a large, very sophisticated" drugs enterprise.

The drugs operation was allegedly set up in Rory Francis Hughes' business premises beside his family home.

On arrival to conduct a search, police were met by the accused's two children and a heavy smell of cannabis was noted.

Hughes (39), of Ballyvaddy Road, appeared for a committal hearing at Dungannon Magistrates' Court yesterday on seven charges following the search of his engineering business on December 19.

Charges include possessing cannabis and cocaine with intent to supply as well as cultivating cannabis plants and dishonestly using electricity.

He is further accused of possessing cutting agent, moulds and a press.

A detective told an earlier court sitting that 400 cannabis plants were recovered, with a value of around £200,000.

Some 2.2kg of cocaine were discovered, with around £15,000 worth of cutting agent, which combined "would increase the value significantly".

It is also contended that an underground electricity supply was being used.

Bail was refused when Hughes first appeared in court, but this was appealed at the High Court, where Hughes was released with strict conditions.

At the most recent sitting, a prosecutor said there was a case to answer, which was agreed by District Judge John Meehan.

Hughes made no reply to the charges and declined to call witnesses or give evidence on his own behalf at this stage.

Judge Meehan remanded him on £500 bail to appear for arraignment at Dungannon Crown Court on September 18.

Belfast Telegraph

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