Pair sentenced following Ballyclare drugs haul

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Two Country Antrim men have been jailed for possessing illicit and prescription drugs.

Trevor George Lowry, 37, of Beech Drive, Carrickfergus and Anthony McGuigan, 29, of Thyme Park, Antrim had previously pleaded guilty to a number of drugs offences including possessing Class A controlled drug with intent to supply and possession of a Class A controlled drug. At Laganside Crown court, (Friday, 13 April), Mr Lowry was sentenced to 7½ years and Mr McGuigan was sentenced to 8 years.

Detective Inspector Andrew Hamlin, from PSNI’s Criminal Investigation Branch, said: “These two men who were involved in the large scale distribution of cocaine as part of organised crime gang and now face a lengthy time behind bars. This was the result of a substantial proactive policing operation led by PSNI detectives against the supply of drugs within Northern Ireland.

“They were arrested after we carried out a search of a vehicle under the Misuse of Drugs Act in Ballyclare on 19 May 2017. A quantity of Class A drugs (Cocaine) worth an estimated street value of between £800,000 and £1,200,000 was seized along with a quantity of Pregabalin tablets. Pregabalin, also known as Lyrica, is a prescription drug. As has been widely reported on numerous occasions Lyrica has been linked to a large number of deaths in Northern Ireland in the last 3 years.

“This is further proof of our determination to ensure we bring those involved in organised criminality before the courts.

“Cocaine powder sold by drug dealers is usually mixed with other unknown stimulants such as caffeine, which increases the risk of addiction. It can also be mixed with other unknown psychoactive ingredients. You never know exactly what you are taking or how it will affect you.”

Detective Inspector Hamlin continued: “Organised crime gangs are only interested in making money at the expense of everyone else. They are not interested in the harm they are causing. They are more interested in boosting their coffers and financing paramilitaries who cause abject misery in their own communities.

“The message is clear to all those involved in the supply chain of large quantities of controlled drugs – they can expect to go to jail when they are caught.

“Police will continue to work to ensure Northern Ireland remains a hostile environment to those who seek to benefit in any way from peddling the misery of drugs.”