Trio to face trial on 'drugs plot' charges

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Laganside Courthouse Belfast
Image caption,
The men appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court

Three men have been returned for trial accused of involvement in an international plot to smuggle drugs into Northern Ireland through the post.

The trio are allegedly connected to an operation to import ecstasy and mephedrone, a court has heard.

Connor Devenney, 35, Ryan McManus, 30, and Ryan Milligan, 28, were arrested following the seizure of thousands of tablets in Belfast in August 2013.

All three face charges of conspiring to import a controlled drug.

Mr McManus, of Ava Street in Belfast, and Mr Milligan, from Manse Road, Dundrum, County Down, are also accused of possessing and transferring criminal property, having Class A and B drugs with intent to supply, and conspiracy to fraudulently evade the prohibition on importing drugs.

The court heard Mr Devenney, from Dunwellan Park in Newcastle, County Down, is also accused of having a quantity of cannabis.

All three confirmed they understood the charges against them, but declined to call witnesses or give evidence at this stage.

They were returned for crown court trial, on a date to be fixed.

Mr Devenney was released on continuing bail while the others were taken back into custody.

Stressing the scale of the case, a defence lawyer said about 2,500 pages of documents have been produced.

He added that it involved a series of global investigations.