Man charged over £800,000 of drugs discovered in van
A man arrested after police found herbal cannabis valued at £800,000 in a van driven across the border from Donegal into Londonderry earlier this week has appeared in court.
The herbal cannabis was found concealed in kitchen units inside the van when it was searched by uniformed PSNI officers and by members of the Organised Crime Branch.
The discovery was made at Glengalliagh Road, about two miles from the border, on Monday evening.
In court in Londonderry was Mark William McPhillips (39), who gave an address at Elmvale in the Culmore area of the city.
He is charged with possessing the herbal cannabis and possessing it with intent to supply.
McPhillips is further charged with fraudulently importing the herbal cannabis from the Republic of Ireland into Northern Ireland.
The defendant, who had been detained in Strabane police station since his arrest on Monday, made no reply to the charges.
He answered “yes” when he was asked by a court clerk if he understood the charges.
A detective constable told District Judge Barney McElholm that he was fully aware of the background of the three charges and could connect the defendant to them.
He said he had also executed an arrest warrant for the defendant following convictions in his absence for motoring offences at Strabane Magistrate's Court on March 29.
Defence solicitor Seamus Quigley said he was not making an application to have his client released on bail.
Mr Quigley said the defendant had “absolutely no discernable source of income nor is he in receipt of any benefits”.
He said the defendant's only property was his motor vehicle.
Mr Quigley added that “if the defendant had any income, property or savings he no longer has any of them”.
Describing the quantity of drugs as large, the District Judge remanded the defendant in custody to appear in court again for a video link hearing on Thursday, June 7.