'Dark web online drugs shop selling heroin, cocaine and cannabis' linked to Ballymena address, court is told

'Dark web online drugs shop selling heroin, cocaine and cannabis' linked to Ballymena address, court is told

A 'DARK web' online 'shopping site' advertising heroin, cocaine and cannabis was allegedly linked to a property in Ballymena, a court in the town was told.

Details emerged at Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena (main picture) on Tuesday, where Kamil Balicki (32), of Carndale Meadows in Ballymena, was denied bail.

He is accused of possessing heroin, cocaine and cannabis with intent to supply; producing cocaine; possession of 'criminal property' and attempting to 'import' heroin.

He is also charged with being concerned in the supply of heroin, cocaine and amphetamine.

The defendant, who had the assistance of a Polish interpreter, appeared at court via a video link from Maghaberry Prison where he has been on remand.

Objecting to bail, a police officer said that on October 18, "2020", Border Force officers examined two envelopes from the Netherlands which were addressed to Balicki's address in Ballymena.

She said the envelopes contained 123 grammes of heroin in heat-sealed bags, Court News NI can report.

Police were informed and "cyber investigators" conducted investigations into "dark web activity" where there was an "online shopping site on the dark web which was openly advertising heroin, cocaine, as well as cannabis".

She said the contact information was an email address.

The officer said the site had been active since May 2020 "and there were 270 'positive' feedbacks, suggesting that the site had been extremely active in regards to the sale of Class A  and Class C drugs".

The court heard a search operation was conducted at Balicki's home address on January 17 this year where three people were present, including the defendant.

Referring to Balicki, the officer said, "his laptop" was at the address; "which was switched on" and was "triaged on-site by the cyber support team".

The officer said: "They found the email address linked to the dark web site which was advertising the sale of those drugs was active on his laptop".

She said police also found a "large quantity" of suspected drugs at the property - 40-50 grammes of heroin; 30-40 grammes of cocaine and 30 grammes of cannabis.

The officer said a bucket had a "mixture of different powders"  which were field-tested which came back positive for cocaine "which was approximately one to two kilos."

"There was also evidence of other mixing powders; mixing bowls and deal bags which would indicate they were active in the supply element of the Class A and Class C drugs".

The officer said no value had yet been attributed to the drugs.

The officer said a number of electronic devices and phones were seized as well as a quantity of cash.

The constable added that police believe Balicki was using the site "to sell drugs".

She said Balicki refused to give pass codes for his devices.

The officer said the triage of the defendant's laptop showed "a number of crypto-currency wallets".

The constable said the triages showed there was "over £100,000 in crypto-currency has been through one of the crypto wallets within the past year".

She added: "He is at a massive financial loss. There was a quantity of cash seized as well as the value of the drugs".

A defence lawyer said the defendant had no criminal record in Northern Ireland; has lived here for eight years and works as a production operator at a processing factory in Cullybackey.

He said Balicki had been "renting" his address.

District Judge Nigel Broderick refused bail saying it would appear there was "strong evidence" to connect him to the charges.

The judge was concerned that if released the accused could "interfere" with the ongoing investigation.

He said there was a "risk of further offences" and "no suitable address".

The case was adjourned to March 1.