Three in court over £2m Mexican cocaine haul
High purity cocaine worth up to £2m was smuggled directly into Northern Ireland from Mexico, a court has heard.
Three kilos of the drugs seized in Belfast had been concealed in vacuum packs and posted through an express mail service, a judge was told.
Police also disclosed that a worldwide arrest operation was expected against what was described as a highly organised crime gang.
Details emerged as three men were remanded in custody in connection with the drugs haul uncovered on Tuesday.
Christopher Overend (22), Philip Devlin (28) and 35-year-old Abiodun Dahunsi are all charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine.
Overend, of Hillman Street, and Devlin from Antrim Road, both in Belfast, are also jointly accused of possessing and importing Class A drugs.
A detective constable told the city's Magistrates Court that the investigation was at an extremely early stage.
She said: “These drugs have come straight from Mexico. Initial field tests indicate an extremely high purity.”
Because of the weight the estimated street value was put in excess of £1m-£2m.
The officer added: “Further arrest operations and investigations are going on worldwide.”
The location of the seizure was not disclosed during the hearing.
A lawyer for Devlin claimed he had been used by other “more sinister people”. Philip Breen said the consignment was posted in his name through the DHL service.
He told the court Devlin brought his friend Overend in, with the pair to be paid £500 each for collecting the package.
Both men were said to have cooperated with police during questioning.
District Judge Fiona Bagnall refused Overend and Devlin bail due to the risk of interfering with the ongoing probe or possible re-offending.
Dahunsi, a Nigerian national with an address at Mount Alverno, Ballymurphy, did not apply for bail.
All three accused were remanded in custody to appear again by video link on June 7.