Two locals in custody over £1.3m drug find.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

TWO local men arrested following one of Northern Ireland's largest seizures of herbal cannabis remain in custody, writes Louise McDowell.

Kevin McPolin (32) and Niall Mallon (37) were not granted bail yesterday (Monday) following an appearance at Newry Magistrates' Court over fears they could reoffend, abscond or interfere with the investigation.

Police believe the men are part of an organised and sophisticated criminal gang working across Europe and Northern Ireland.

Expectant dad, McPolin and Mallon are charged with fraudulently importing class B controlled drugs, possession of class B controlled drugs and possession of class B controlled drugs with intent to supply.

The charges follow the seizure of £1.3m worth of herbal cannabis in a cross-border operation at Ballynarris Lane outside Dromore last Friday (30 March). The PSNI, An Garda Síochána and Irish customs' officials were involved in the raid. Police also carried out follow-up searches at other locations.

The drugs were found hidden inside an industrial-sized fuel tank on a shipping pallet at Mallon's home address on Ballynarris Lane on Friday afternoon.

Police believe the fuel container was collected from Dublin at 12pm that day.

A member of the PSNI said they were objecting to bail as police "understand the defendants are part of organised and sophisticated criminal gang working across Europe and NI.

Both will abscond due to the serious nature of offences as if released both will have to reoffend due to the serious financial loss and will continue to be involved with criminal association," he told the court.

McPolin's defence barrister Justin Byrne said the 32-year-old lives with his family and his partner is due to give birth to their first child this week.

"He has a very limited record, a no insurance, careless driving and a caution for cannabis. His family are willing to put up several thousand pounds as a cash surety for him,"

Mr Byrne said as he asked the court to release him on "strict bail conditions".

More details in the County Down Outlook Newspaper


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