Lorry driver link to drugs package

A LORRY driver accused of having £300,000 worth of herbal cannabis which police previously alleged was linked to an organised crime gang operating between England and Ireland, has had his case sent to the Crown Court.

Christopher Walker (26), of Gilford Road, Scarva, allegedly had the drugs in a box in the cab of his lorry when he was stopped at Moorfields near Ballymena in May this year as he drove away from Larne port towards Coleraine.

He is charged with possession of Class B drugs with intent to supply; being concerned in the supply of cannabis and possession of the drug.

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During a preliminary enquiry at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday a prosecutor submitted there was a case to answer.

District Judge Peter King ruled the case could be sent to Antrim Crown Court for arraignment in January and released the accused on continuing bail.

Previously, at Coleraine Magistrates Court in May this year, a police officer said the PSNI found a large box in the lorry containing 15 kilos of herbal cannabis.

When interviewed by police the accused said he was approached several weeks beforehand on a ferry and asked if he would “take back stuff”.

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The court heard after dropping off a load in London Walker was given details of what ferry he was to take back to Northern Ireland and after meeting individuals in Haydock near Liverpool he was given a box.

The police officer said she believed individuals were operating as part of an “organised crime gang” across England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

A defence lawyer told the May court Walker believed he was taking back tobacco and accepted he had the package but was just delivering it.

“He is simply the courier. he is obviously not well versed in this type of organisation to leave himself open to detection in such an amateur way,” said the lawyer.