Pair are jailed for part in co­caine and cannabis deal­ing op­er­a­tion

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY JOHN CAS­SIDY

TWO north Belfast men have been handed prison sen­tences for their part in a “well or­gan­ised’’ co­caine and cannabis drug deal­ing op­er­a­tion.

Ni­cholas Mackle Snr (60), of Fortwilliam Park, was jailed for two-and-a-half years af­ter he pleaded guilty to pos­ses­sion of the drugs with in­tent to sup­ply and pos­sess­ing a firearm and am­mu­ni­tion in sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances.

Philip Hugh Mitchell (35), of Beech­wood Av­enue, New­town­abbey, pleaded guilty to a sin­gle charge of pos­sess­ing co­caine with in­tent to sup­ply and was jailed for 16 months.

He was or­dered to serve a fur­ther 16 months on li­cence on his re­lease.

Ni­cholas Mackle Jnr (40), of Cooly­moyne Park, was handed a 12-month sen­tence sus­pended for two years af­ter he pleaded guilty to cul­ti­vat­ing cannabis.

Pass­ing sen­tence yes­ter­day at Belfast Crown Court, Judge Geoffrey Miller QC told Mackle Snr that he would serve a fur­ther three years on su­per­vised li­cence on his re­lease from jail to al­low to him to take part in “drug and al­co­hol pro­grammes’’ to deal with his ad­dic­tions.

The judge said that an ag­gra­vat­ing fac­tor in the fa­ther-of­six’s case was the pos­ses­sion of a “con­verted sub-ma­chine gun’’.

“What was the in­tended pur­pose of this firearm is a ques­tion this court needs to ad­dress,” he said. “There is, how­ever, no ev­i­dence to sug­gest this weapon had been used di­rectly against or to threaten any­one.’’

He said the most likely rea­son Mackle Snr had the gun was for a de­fen­sive pur­pose.

Judge Miller said, although the gun was in a “poor con­di­tion”, it re­mained “dan­ger­ous’’ and could “cause se­ri­ous harm’’.

The judge said Mitchell had told pro­ba­tion that he had an ad­dic­tion to drink and drugs and got in­volved in the op­er­a­tion to pay off a “drug debt’’.

Pros­e­cu­tion lawyer Natalie Pinker­ton­had­toldthe­court­that on April 1, 2015, po­lice searched ad­dresses in north Belfast and re­cov­ered a “sig­nif­i­cant’’ quan­tity of Class A co­caine and Class B cannabis and am­phet­a­mine or ‘speed’ drugs along with a num­ber of firearms and am­mu­ni­tion.

Mitchell and Mackle Snr were found at an ad­dress in Mid­lands Close, where po­lice re­cov­ered a quan­tity of co­caine with a “high pu­rity level of up to 80%” and which had a po­ten­tial street value of over £110,000. A quan­tity of cut­ting agent ben­zo­caine was also seized.

Coded text mes­sage traf­fic was found on mo­bile phones owned by Mackle Snr and Mitchell, which gave the im­pres­sion that they­w­erea“cou­pleina­closere­la­tion­ship’’.

At a nearby house in Mid­land Cres­cent, a search found two co­caine presses. Of­fi­cers also dis­cov­ered 18 plants in an up­stairs cannabis fac­tory with a po­ten­tial street value of over £15,000.

Ms Pinker­ton said it was the pros­e­cu­tion case that Mackle Snr was the “prin­ci­pal” in the drug sup­ply op­er­a­tion, while Mitchell played a lesser role to him.

How­ever, Judge Miller said that it was the court’s view that Mackle Snr was “not the brains be­hind the op­er­a­tion” and there was “no ev­i­dence of trap­pings of wealth”.

The judge or­dered the de­struc­tion of all the drugs and drug re­lated para­pher­na­lia, along with the firearm and am­mu­ni­tion.

Drug dealer Ni­cholas Mackle Snr was jailed at Belfast Crown Court

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.