Patrick Pearse O’Connor, of Old Fort, Strathfoyle, will serve half his sentence in jail with the remainder on supervised licence following his release from prison.
Six other members of the ‘organised crime gang’ supplying drugs across the North West and the North of Ireland received suspended sentences at Derry Crown Court.
The 52-year-old ‘Mr Big’ pleaded guilty to a series of offences..
According to court papers, these included converting criminal property “which was money in the sum of £405,211 by purchasing Rolex watches and jewellery, money in the sum of £97,927 by purchasing holiday travel from a travel agency in Armagh and money to the sum of £31,622 by purchasing holiday travel from a travel agency in Derry”.
He also admitted being involved in a series of drug transactions including one between January 2 and February 9 2017 where a car was stopped and cannabis and cocaine found with £700,000 worth of cocaine.
O’Connor’ s wife Misha O’Connor (41), of Stoneypath, in Derry also admitted a series of offences linked to the Proceeds of Crime.
Detective Inspector McKenna of the PSNI said: “Patrick O’Connor was arrested as part of Operation Sonny which began in 2016 and was a pro-active Organised Crime investigation against those involved in the importation and distribution of illegal controlled drugs in Northern Ireland, and also for offences detected as part of an operation investigating criminal activity using Enchrochat.
“The PSNI is committed to both preventing dangerous drugs from ending up in local communities and pursuing those intent on destroying lives through the supply of illicit drugs.
“Drug dealers seek to make profit at the expense of causing harm and loss to local families in the city.
“They set out to ruin the communities that they operate in and they do not care about the damage that they cause, preying on the most vulnerable members of their communities.
“We will continue to robustly and proactively pursue those who are intent on damaging our communities by supplying illegal drugs and the communities most damaged by the scourge of drugs support our ongoing efforts.
“I would appeal for anyone with information regarding the supply of illegal drugs to contact police on 101 or submit a report online using our non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/.
Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”
Mark Kelly (47) of Callenbridge Park, Co Armagh and Barry Fox (42), of Dunavon Park, Dungannon, Co Tyrone admitted their involvement in an incident in the Waterside area of Derry where an exchange of cash and cannabis was observed.
When one of the vehicles was stopped cash valued at £10,470 was found and phone analysis connected the accused to the charges.
Kelly was given a three year sentence suspended for four years while Fox received a 12 month sentence suspended for two years.
Misha O’Connor has handed a two year sentence suspended for three years.
Benjamin Quinn (32) of Rossgier in Lifford, Co Donegal, admitted his involvement in the incident where the £700,000 worth of cocaine was seized and received a two year sentence suspended for two years.
Blaine Curtis (35), from Croydon, England, pleaded guilty to making a payment of £3,000 against the purchase of a Rolex watch on O’Connor’s account as well as purchasing two mobile phones. He received a one year sentence suspended for two years.
Kevin Cassidy (49), of Woodbrook, Derry, pleaded guilty to being involved in passing information to a driver involved in the movement of criminal property. He also received a one year sentence suspended for two years.Tags: