Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland car dealer 'kingpin' behind £180k drug operation, court hears

The accused was granted bail at Belfast High Court (stock photo)
The accused was granted bail at Belfast High Court (stock photo)

By Alan Erwin

A car dealer is the alleged "kingpin" behind a plot to get £180,000 worth of cocaine across the border concealed inside a van, the High Court has heard.

Warren Crossan, 27, faces charges linked to the drugs discovered in a sophisticated hide under floor panels in the vehicle stopped on the A1 at Sprucefield on November 8.

Prosecutors claimed he is connected through text messages with a co-accused who was driving the Citroen Berlingo.

Crossan, of Glenfield Close in Crumlin, allegedly controlled the second man, paying him to collect the consignment in the Republic of Ireland and bring it into Northern Ireland.

He is charged with conspiracy to supply and conspiracy to import a Class A drug.

During a bail application Mr Justice McAlinden asked: "Is Mr Crossan viewed by police as being the kingpin?"

Crown lawyer Andrew Brownlie replied: "That's correct."

He told the court nothing was found during an initial search of the van.

But further examinations led to the recovery of three kilos of compressed white powder, which tested positive for cocaine with a potential street value of at least £180,000.

According to the prosecution Crossan had been registered at the vehicle's owner.

"It's likely this was not the first time the movement of drugs has taken place using this method," Mr Brownlie contended.

Crossan was arrested after going to a police station on November 14.

During interviews he provided a statement denying any involvement in any drugs activity.

Opposing bail, the prosecution claimed he has associates outside the jurisdiction.

Peter Coiley, defending, argued that his client faced a "weak, circumstantial case" based on references to a 'Warren C' on the co-accused's phone.

He also stressed that the van was not registered to Crossan when it was stopped by police.

Bail was granted for the accused under conditions including the surrender of his passport.

Mr Justice McAlinden also ordered: "He will not be entitled to engage in any commercial business involving the sale, purchase or supply of motor vehicles."

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