TWO MEMBERS OF DERRY-BASED CRIME GANG JAILED OVER £500,000 COCAINE AND CANNABIS HAUL
TWO Donegal men who were members of a Derry-based drug gang and were caught by police with an estimated half a million pounds worth of cocaine and herbal cannabis were handed six year sentences today.
Dominic Porter, aged 32, from Lifford and Conrad Clarke, aged 29, from St Johnston, pleaded guilty to possession of Class A controlled drugs (cocaine) with intent to supply.
Judge Geoffrey Miller QC told the pair standing in the dock of Belfast Crown Court they would spend three years in custody and three years on supervised licence following their release from jail..
They also received a three year sentence for Possession of Class B drugs (cannabis) with intent to supply – 18 months in custody and 18 months on licence.
The sentences will run concurrently.
The two men, travelling in a Vauxhall Insignia, were stopped by police in the Whitla Street area of Belfast city centre on 8 February of this year as part of a proactive investigation into a Derry-based organised crime gang involved in major drugs supply and money laundering.
Police searched the vehicle and found a bin bag in the front of the vehicle containing a number of packages containing high purity Class A cocaine and herbal cannabis with an estimated street value in excess of half a million pounds.
Detective Inspector Tom McClure welcomed the sentence and said: “This was a significant and large haul of drugs recovered by our officers as part of a proactive operation targeting criminals intent on making money from illicit drugs.
“There is no doubt that this operation, which resulted in these two men being brought before the courts today, struck a blow to the activities of an organised gang in Derry involved in serious drug criminality.
“The PSNI is committed to making Northern Ireland a hostile environment for those in our community who are involved in serious drug crimes and those involved are warned that we will seek to identify them, arrest them and place them before the courts.
“There will be no hiding place for them.
Detective Inspector McClure continued: “I want to thank our colleagues in An Garda Siochana for their assistance during the course of this investigation.
“We are committed to tackling illegal drugs and other criminal activities and in keeping communities safe.
“I continue to appeal to members of the public to come forward with any information about the supply or use of illegal drugs or criminal activity.
“Anyone with any information can call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”