Keep up with Armagh i

Man remanded in custody following £170,000 seizure of suspected cocaine

Police Car night

A Dungannon man has appeared before a special court sitting following the seizure of £170,000 suspected cocaine.

Aodhan Holbrook (32) from Killyman Road, who is currently awaiting trial for a number of serious offences, is charged with possessing and intending to supply cocaine as well as having a weapon namely CS spray.

A police officer aware of the facts of the case told Dungannon Magistrates’ Court the charges could be connected.

He explained during the early hours of March 15 police stopped a van at Carland Road, Dungannon as part of a routine check.

Holbrook was in the passenger seat officers noted him to be “extremely agitated, evasive to questioning and nervous”.

A decision was taken to carry out a search and the CS Spray canister was discovered in the leg of his trousers when cautioned he said he had “just lifted it off the road as he was getting out of the van”.

Minutes later he claimed it actually belonged to his partner then followed by stating: “If he could make a phone call he would be able to tell police who owned it.”

A search of the vehicle meanwhile resulted in a small quantity of white powder under the front passenger seat where Holbrook had been sitting, although the officer said this was very much a “trace amount”.

A notebook containing a suspected “dealer list” was also recovered.

Holbrook was arrested and a search of his home uncovered 2.1 kilograms of suspected cocaine with an estimated street value of £170,000 in the garage.

In a prepared statement during interview Holbrook claimed to have purchased the CS Spray online and wasn’t aware it was illegal.

He stated the powder found in his home was a fitness supplement, but made no comment as to the trace amounts found in the van.

Objecting to bail the officer said: “Police believe the defendant poses a very high risk of further serious offending. He is already on crown court bail for charges of causing previous bodily harm and possessing a weapon. He has a relevant previous record including offences for firearms and drugs and is currently subject to a Probation Order.”

The officer continued: “We are of the view he is heavily involved in the supply of drugs and consequently it is inevitable he will be forced to recoup the huge financial loss from this seizure. Current crown court bail conditions and Probation have not served to curb serious offending. Police have absolutely no confidence any bail conditions imposed would be adhered to or protect the public.”

In response to an enquiry by District Judge Michael Ranaghan the officer confirmed: “There is intelligence suggesting involvement in drugs supply.”

Defence counsel pointed out the garage in which the drugs were found was unlocked and the substance in question is a nutrient used in protein shakes to help build muscle as part of fitness training.

“If he had drugs of the quantity and value described it would be suggested they would be protected in a more secure way than leaving them in an unlocked garage,” said the defence.

The court was told Holbrook is a full-time carer for his partner who suffers from poor mental health and “if bail is not granted it will pose substantial difficulties for her”.

However, Judge Ranaghan refused, remarking: “This application is not helped by the defendant giving four different accounts as to the CS Spray. This alleged offending was while he was on crown court bail and under Probation supervisor. He has a relevant criminal record and there was a significant find of suspected cocaine at his home. This man is not a suitable candidate for bail.”

Holbrook will appear again by video-link on April 10.

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Most read today

More in Dungannon