Sacks of drugs sent in post linked to Northern Ireland deaths, court told
Drugs posted from Birmingham last year have been linked to drugs-related deaths in Northern Ireland, the Magistrate's Court in Londonderry heard yesterday.
A police officer made the comment when three defendants, one from Birmingham and the two others from Wales, appeared in court following their arrests by PSNI officers in England and Wales last Monday.
The defendants are Matthew Compton (21), from Spring Lane, Erdington in Birmingham, Donna Handley (46), a care assistant from St David's Road, Port Talbot in Wales and her partner Llewellyn Jones (46), from Abbeyville Court, Port Talbot.
All three have been jointly charged with being concerned in supplying Class A, B and C drugs and with conspiring to supply the drugs between December 2017 and last Monday.
A fourth suspect, a 25-year-old man from Birmingham, is still being questioned by police.
The officer told District Judge Barney McElholm that a young local man, whose death was drugs related, had contacted the defendant Jones after a drugs parcel had been intercepted and warned him the police were on to him. She said the young man continued to abuse drugs before his death.
The police witness described Jones as "a drop shopper" who ran his alleged illegal activities from a shop in Swansea, taking the orders after which sacks filled with drugs were posted from Birmingham. She said CCTV footage from post offices showed Compton posting sacks of drugs to Northern Ireland.
The officer said the defendant Jones, who has admitted his offending, posted over £1,500,000 in cash to the gang principal over a series of months. She said when a house shared by the defendants Jones and Handley was searched on Monday last, officers found £15,000, documents and a large amount of prescription drugs.
"There have been a number of drugs deaths in Northern Ireland recently and they have been connected to drugs parcels posted from Birmingham," she said.
The constable said that in a three month period last year, £95,000 worth of transactions were carried out on Handley's bank account.
All three were refused bail on the grounds they might interfere with the ongoing investigation, and were remanded in custody for a video link hearing on May 30.