Belfast Telegraph

Three men sentenced for part in criminal network importing drugs into Northern Ireland

Three men who were part of a criminal network importing millions of pounds of drugs into Northern Ireland have been sentenced.

Desmond Lindsay, from Cardigan Drive in Belfast, pleaded guilty to four offences of aiding and abetting the possession of cocaine and herbal cannabis with intent to supply. He has been sentenced to 14 months in prison, with half to be served on licence.

His offences relate to his role in the supply of £618,200 worth of cannabis which was seized at Seven Mile Straight Antrim on September 19, the seizure of £944,820 worth of cocaine found in a vehicle on the Westlink, Belfast on December 5, 2013, £372,000 worth of cocaine at Hillsborough on 22 May, 2014; and £125,000 worth of cocaine and cannabis at Beechwood Crescent, Londonderry on 13 June, 2014.

Francis McKeown, from Fortwilliam Parade in Belfast, pleaded guilty to one offence of aiding and abetting the possession of cocaine with intent to supply. He has been sentenced to 10 months imprisonment with half to be served on licence.

His offence related to his part in the supply of £372,000 worth of cocaine which was seized at Hillsborough on May 22, 2014.

A 42-year-old man, who cannot be named, pleaded guilty to an offence of encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence.

He was sentenced to 9 months imprisonment suspended for two years.

His offence relates to his involvement of the supply of £125,000 worth of cocaine and cannabis which was seized at Beechwood Crescent in Derry on June 13, 2014.

The sentencings are the last of those involved in a year-long operation, which spanned the period September 2013 to August 2014.

In all, 27 people have been convicted and sentenced.

Detective Inspector Tom McClure said: “This complex proactive investigation has resulted in the conviction and sentencing of all 27 persons involved in this criminal network.

"A substantial amount of drugs have been taken off the streets as a result of this and kept out of communities where they cause harm to individuals and bring nothing but misery to families.

"The community can be reassured we will robustly pursue those involved in serious drugs criminality. Anyone involved in the supply of drugs, or tempted to become involved are warned, if caught, they face the prospect of time in a prison cell. We will continue in our efforts to make Northern Ireland a safer place to live and work by proactively investigating and arresting people involved in serious criminality.

"I want to pay tribute to colleagues in the National Crime Agency, An Garda Siochana and Greater Manchester Police for their assistance during this operation.

"A financial investigation is ongoing to ensure those involved do not benefit from their criminality."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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