Belfast Telegraph

Manchester drug probe fugitive McDonough may be in Northern Ireland


Kurt McDonough. Pic NCA
Kurt McDonough. Pic NCA
McDonough boarded a Stena Line ferry to Belfast.
Michael Downes. Pic NCA
Brian Capon. Pic NCA
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

A man wanted in connection with a major police drugs operation in Manchester could be on the run in Northern Ireland, the National Crime Agency (NCA) has said.

The NCA appealed to Kurt McDonough to hand himself in and warned anyone helping him they faced arrest.

McDonough was last seen boarding the ferry from Liverpool to Belfast in July.

He is wanted in connection with a drugs operation in Manchester. He was arrested in October 2017 under suspicion of conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs.

On Wednesday two men were jailed for conspiring to distribute 182.5kg of drugs. That was despite no drugs ever being found.

The NCA's case against Brian Capon (34) and 32-year-old Michael Downes, was so strong the pair pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply 58.5 kg of cocaine, 69kg of cannabis and 55kg of cannabis resin.

During searches, lists of drug deals and money made from sales was found. These debtors’ lists as well as covert recordings of conversations led to the convictions.

At Manchester Crown Court, Capon, originally of Moreton Avenue, Stretford, in the city, was jailed for 16 years while Downes, of no fixed abode, was handed an 11-year sentence.

McDonough StenaLine copy.jpg
McDonough boarded a Stena Line ferry to Belfast.

McDonough was living in Bolton before he skipped bail. On Tuesday, July 9, he took a taxi to a nearby train station before travelling to Liverpool and boarding the 8.45pm Stena Lagan ferry to Belfast.

A warrant was then issued for his arrest.

NCA branch commander Craig Watson said: “I would urge Kurt to hand himself in. I’ve no doubt someone seeing this appeal will have information about his whereabouts.

“Although we know McDonough took a boat to Belfast, he is known to have connections to Ireland, Liverpool and Manchester.

“Anyone helping McDonough or actively frustrating our efforts to find him could be arrested for assisting an offender."

McDonough was described as white, 5ft 5 inches tall with fair-coloured hair and speaks with a northern English accent.

Mr Watson said the jailing of Capon and Downes and the disruption to their operation sent a "strong warning" to similar organised crime groups.

“With or without drugs, the NCA with our law enforcement partners will identify you, trace you then disrupt and dismantle your organisation,” he said.

“The NCA will use all our capabilities to target and disrupt those involved in organised crime.”

Anyone with information on McDonough’s whereabouts should contact the NCA on 0370 496 7622 or the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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