Duo in court over £2m Belfast drugs haul
A man and woman are to stand trial for alleged involvement in one of the biggest drugs operations ever disrupted in Northern Ireland.
Cannabis with a street value of up to £2 million was seized at properties in Belfast and intercepted en route to hotels across the city last August.
Police also believe a large number of other packages, potentially worth several million pounds more, slipped though the net.
Chinese nationals Chun Guo Pan, 48, and his female co-accused Mei Juan Gao, 38, appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court on Monday, April 8, on charges related to the suspected distribution plot.
The pair, both of no fixed abode, are jointly charged with possession and conspiracy to supply Class B drugs.
They also face further allegations of having false identity documents.
During a preliminary enquiry hearing the defendants confirmed they understood the charges against them.
Speaking through an interpreter, Pan and Gao both declined to give evidence or call witnesses at this stage.
Their lawyers did not contest prosecution submissions that the accused each has a case to answer.
District Judge Fiona Bagnall then granted a request to have the pair returned for Crown Court trial on a date to be fixed.
With no bail applications mounted, the defendants are to remain in custody.
Barrister Declan Quinn, representing Pan, secured a certification for two counsel at trial due to the seriousness and scale of the case.
He told the court: "This is one of the largest drugs seizures in this jurisdiction.
"Between £1.5m to £2m was seized, around 75 kilos, and it has also been linked to wider criminality."
Belfast Telegraph Digital