No bail for ‘Dublin crime gang taxi driver who delivered cocaine to loyalist estate’
A taxi driver suspected of having links to organized crime in Dublin, accused of delivering cocaine to a loyalist estate in east Belfast, has been refused bail.
In a denied claim by Dungannon-based taxi driver David John Ghent (41), a court heard police case he delivered two kilos of cocaine to Colin Joseph Garrett, 29, before he he is caught crossing the border.
Newtownards Magistrates Court heard that after he allegedly delivered the package to Garrett at the Ballybeen estate, another kilo of the Class A drug was discovered by Paramilitary Crime Task Force cops during a a search of the Ghent taxi on the M1 near Moira on November 24 last year.
Ghent, from Hollyfields to Dungannon, faces five charges including supplying cocaine, importing drugs and possession of criminal property.
Co-defendant Garrett, a widowed housekeeper from Upper Newtownards Road, Dundonald faces three counts including possession of cocaine with intent to supply and possession of cannabis on November 24.
At an earlier hearing, a police officer said Garrett had links to the UVF, while his co-defendant had links to a criminal gang in southern Ireland.
It is alleged that when Ghent pulled up outside Garrett’s house in Ballymena, the east Belfast man got out and collected a package from the taxi which then drove off.
Garrett went back inside but was quickly followed by a police search party and when they entered the front door he ran upstairs and threw the package out the window. a bedroom upstairs.
Cops on standby recovered the package containing 2.24 kilos of cocaine, the courts heard.
As Ghent approached Moira, her taxi was stopped and searched along with the other recovered package.
Police have claimed the £180,000 seizures represent ‘a massive blow’ to a cross-border drug smuggling operation involving organized crime gangs in South and East Belfast paramilitaries.
Ghent had previously been denied bail but launching another request last Wednesday, defense attorney Craig Patton argued that the potential delays in moving the case forward amounted to a change in circumstances and therefore justified the court reviewing the decision.
He told District Judge Mark Hamill that the cellphone scan is expected to take more than three months.
“He has already spent a significant period in custody and if he breaches bail he will be remanded for an even more significant period,” Mr Patton said.
Mr Hamill replied: ‘I declare that there is no change of circumstances, so go back to the High Court because you have singularly failed to convince me.’
The case was adjourned to March.