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East Belfast man accused of having £600,000 worth of drugs ‘in debt to paramilitaries’, court told

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The 34-year-old was remanded in custody on charges connected to the large-scale seizure.

The 34-year-old was remanded in custody on charges connected to the large-scale seizure.

The 34-year-old was remanded in custody on charges connected to the large-scale seizure.

An east Belfast man accused of having £600,000 worth of methamphetamine and cocaine was in debt to paramilitaries, a court heard today.

Michael Nelson raised the defence of duress after being arrested as part of a police operation at the weekend.

The 34-year-old, of Glenloch Gardens, was remanded in custody on charges connected to the large-scale seizure.

Nelson appeared at Belfast Magistrates’ Court to face two counts of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply.

He is also accused of having cannabis, assault on police, resisting police and disorderly behaviour.

Police allegedly discovered an initial quantity of drugs after Nelson was stopped at Pakenham Street in the south of the city on Saturday evening.

Follow-up searches at his address led to the recovery of approximately five kilos of methamphetamine and nearly a kilo of cocaine was recovered, it was claimed.

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According to police the haul has an estimated street value in excess of £600,000.

During interviews it was suggested that any alleged offending may be connected to drug-related debts Nelson has with paramilitaries.

He also claimed to have been under duress, a judge was told.

Nelson’s solicitor, Paul Dougan, accepted that he faces serious charges, but argued there is a “workable defence”.

Mr Dougan added that his client has successfully overcome addiction issues in the past with the help of his family.

Bail was refused, however, due to the risk of any further offences.

Deputy District Judge Trevor Browne said the accused has allegedly become “emmeshed” in illicit activity.

He added: “I’m satisfied… from the sheer scale of the drugs that were found on his premises and his personal issues, that he has made a number of bad life decisions in the past and they have come back to haunt him now.”

Nelson was remanded in custody to appear in court again on August 22.


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