A suspected North Belfast drug dealer is a ‘leading member of an organized crime gang’, a police officer claimed today.
delivering evidence at Belfast Magistrates Court, Det. const. Montgomery further claimed that Graham Darragh “funds his lifestyle and home renovations solely through criminal conduct”.
Darragh (37), of Hopewell Place in Belfast, appeared in court via video link from police custody where he was charged with having cocaine and possessing the Class A drug with intent to supply, of having class C diazepam in addition to charges of possession and criminal conversion of property, all of which were allegedly committed on February 25 of this year.
DC Montgomery explained that when police raided Darragh’s home on Friday evening, they found him in an upstairs bedroom, adding that a search of the property revealed “a total of 283 grams of cocaine , five boxes of diazepam and £5,000 (€6,000) in cash”.
The cocaine, police said, has an estimated street value of around £37,000 (€44,000).
In addition, officers from the Paramilitary Crime Task Force team also seized “hundreds, if not thousands” of self-sealed trafficking bags and an A5 notebook containing columns of dozens and dozens of names and numbers that the cops consider a transaction book. The figures.
The detective revealed that the entire house was under renovation and with the drugs and money the police seized a Rolex watch, a Hugo Boss watch and two gold and diamond rings.
It was all possible, the cop said, even though Darragh’s only income was a state benefit of ‘£60 a week’.
Describing how police feared Darragh would commit further offenses to recoup the loss, DC Montgomery told the court “we believe he is a member, leading member and organizer of an organized crime gang”, and despite his claims that he was acting under duress, police say “criminal behavior is by choice”.
Cross-examined by defense attorney David Jones, the officer admitted that the allegation of Darragh’s alleged role had not been put to him during police interviews.
Arguing that certain aspects of the investigation, including examining a mobile phone and a handwriting comparison, would take a long time and cause an “unreasonable delay” in the case, Mr Jones said that Darragh had “answered all questions” and presented his defense under duress which “coincidentally just an hour before the police arrived”, that the drugs had been left at his home by a group of men.
District Judge George Conner said: “While I immediately recognize that his case is not one that will go very quickly… nevertheless, there is a significant amount of drugs involved.”
“At this point, I’m afraid, just looking at the hard facts, I think there’s too great a risk of further offenses being committed if I grant bail,” said the judge who ruled. remanded Darragh into custody and adjourned the case to March 25.
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