Belfast Telegraph

Man allegedly linked to drugs operation had lists for £500k worth of deals, court told

Carl Ritchie appeared before Belfast High Court on Friday (stock photo)
Carl Ritchie appeared before Belfast High Court on Friday (stock photo)

By Alan Erwin

A man allegedly linked to a major drugs operation in mid Ulster had lists for £500,000 worth of suspected deals at his home, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutors claimed 69 pages of "accounts" were discovered at Carl Ritchie's property in Coalisland, Co Tyrone.

Ritchie, of Mourne Crescent, is charged with having cocaine with intent to supply, possession of cannabis and possession of criminal property.

During the 27-year-old's bid to be re-released on bail, Crown lawyer Philip Henry said officers searched his home on March 29 as part of a probe into "large-scale commercial, organised drugs supply".

The court was told 130g of white powder, a small amount of cannabis and £6,500 in cash was discovered in Ritchie's bedroom.

"Two sets of scales and 69 pages of dealing lists, effectively accounts (were also found)," Mr Henry continued.

"The amount of money referred to in those lists totaled in and around half a million pounds."

At interview Ritchie failed to give an explanation for the items found, it was claimed.

According to the barrister the case forms part of a wider investigation into drug-dealing in the mid Ulster area.

Significant quantities of drugs were uncovered in separate searches at other rural address, including £850,000 worth of cocaine at one location.

Ritchie is not charged in connection with any of those other seizures.

But Mr Henry contended: "The common thread linking the various finds are the dealer lists; all in the same format, all have the same names and similar handwriting.

"The prosecution submission is this was a very significant drugs operation and the applicant is linked into it."

Ritchie was previously granted bail, but returned to custody earlier this month for allegedly breaching a condition not to have a mobile phone with internet capabilities.

Adjourning the renewed application, Mr Justice Colton suggested waiting until the contents of the mobile are examined.

The judge advised defence lawyers: "If there's nothing sinister on the phone you would be in a much stronger position than if it turns out that there is."

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