Court hears '£6,000' worth of crack cocaine found in saucepan during police raid in Ballymena

Court hears '£6,000' worth of crack cocaine found in saucepan during police raid in Ballymena

A COURT heard thousands of pounds worth of crack cocaine was found in a saucepan when police swooped on a house in Ballymena.

Trevor Hayes (49), of Queen Street, Ballymena; Anwar Iqbal (34), of Kincora, Ballymena, and Gareth Law, of Larne Road, Ballymena, appeared via video link at Ballymena Magistrates Court (main picture).

They are charged with producing crack cocaine on October 12 this year.

Charges read to all defendants at the same time at court also include being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine, cannabis and Lyrica; possession of crack cocaine with intent to supply and possession of drugs and 'criminal property'.

Iqbal is further charged with possession of a 9mm round of ammunition.

A police officer said she believed she could connect the three accused to the charges and objected to bail.

She said police searched Hayes' home at 1.45pm on October 12 this year and "a saucepan in the kitchen was observed with suspected crack cocaine present".

She said it was estimated to be 30 grammes worth.  She said the crack cocaine was suspected as being sold in 'deals' of between 0.1 and 0.5 grammes, based on a "mobile phone report".

The officer said the saucepan contained between 60 to 300 'deals' with a 'street value' up to £6,000.

The court was told the three accused were present and a number of mobile phones, electronic devices and electronic scales were found.

A long-handled spoon had suspected white powder on it and other items including ammonia, bicarbonate soda, peroxide and cash were also seized.

Two wraps of "white powder" were recovered from a toilet.

Police also searched a property at Kincora, Ballymena - which police suspected was Iqbal's main residence - and items found included suspected crack cocaine; £18,000 in cash; a 9mm round of ammunition and "suspected offensive weapons".

The PSNI officer said other properties were searched at Clarence Street, Larne Road and Toome Road in Ballymena but nothing was found there.

Meanwhile, the officer said that on March 1 this year Royal Mail intercepted a package at East Midlands Airport which was addressed to Hayes' home.

Over 1,000 grammes of cannabis, said to be worth up to £15,000, was seized.

On July 30 this year Hayes was arrested at his home in relation to the airport find and Iqbal was present.

The police officer said Iqbal had three mobile phones in his possession and £2,700 cash in the pockets of his jacket.

She said police suspected the money was from the sale of drugs "at the property".

A mobile phone was seized from Hayes and "drug supply content" was present with "customers" requesting drugs and Hayes "offering suspected drugs for sale".

The PSNI officer said on the phone Hayes named Iqbal as a "coke dealer" and said that "pure coke" was available any time from "oneish" and that he is "flat out every day".

Hayes also stated that "powder" and "rock" were available and a "customer" said they ordered a tenth of a gramme, the officer told the court.

The police officer said Iqbal said he had been in possession of the round of ammunition for around five years "after receiving it in the post".

She said Iqbal is currently on court bail for alleged offences including supply of drugs, charges a defence lawyer said the defendant denies.

The defence barrister said no other ammunition or firearms were found at the Kincora address.

Regarding money found there, the lawyer said the defendant's family had links to a takeaway in the greater Belfast area and there was "proof" two pandemic recovery grants of £10,000 and £5,000 had been given and the cash was "nothing to do with drug dealing".

The court heard Hayes had 124 previous convictions including drugs offences and Law also had a record.

The officer was concerned there was a risk of reoffending if the men were released on bail.

She also said there was a "great public interest in drugs activity" at the Queen Street address and there was a "real chance the public could take matters into their own hands".

District Judge Nigel Broderick was concerned about a risk of further offences and remanded Hayes and Iqbal in custody.

He granted Law bail in the sum of £500 along with a family surety of £1,000, with conditions including having no contact with the co-accused; and a night time curfew with an electronic monitoring tag.

The cases were adjourned to November 11.