Northern Ireland

Three brothers from Belfast jailed for drugs offences

Laganside Court
Image caption The case was heard at Belfast Crown Court on Monday

Three brothers from Belfast have been jailed for drugs offences linked to a significant seizure of cocaine.

Gerard Kevin Hughes, 29, and Gavin Martin Hughes, 31, who are both from Springfield Park in Belfast, appeared in court alongside their older brother Joseph Christopher Hughes, 35, from The Meadows in Downpatrick.

The trio all appeared at Belfast Crown Court.

The charges arose from incidents in 2013.

The court hearing was told that on 9 October, 2013, a car driven by Gavin Hughes was stopped in north Belfast, and when the vehicle was stopped a black plastic bag was located on the passenger seat. The bag contained five compact cubes of cocaine which amounted to 1.27 kilos of the Class A drug.

When Gavin Hughes was searched, another amount of cocaine was found in the pockets of his jeans, and he was taken into custody.

The following day, officers travelled to an address in the Ligoniel area of the city, which at the time was being rented by Gavin Hughes.

When they arrived, police found Gavin's two brothers Gareth and Joseph at the property. Both the property and a vehicle parked outside the house were searched, and further packages of cocaine were seized, alongside items and equipment associated with mixing drugs. Also located during the search were 21 ecstasy tablets.

Car park

The court heard it was the Crown's case that the rented property was being used to mix the cocaine and prepare it for sale. The total amount of cocaine seized on 9 and 10 October 2013 amounted to 3.25 kilos.

The Hughes brothers subsequently pleaded guilty to a number of drugs offences, while Gerard Hughes also admitted two further offences - namely possession of cannabis with intent to supply, and possession of amphetamine on 6 August, 2013. These offences were linked to the seizure of drugs in a car park in east Belfast.

Regarding the drugs seizures in October 2013, Gavin Hughes pleaded guilty to five charges, including possessing cocaine with intent to supply.

He was handed a four-year sentence and was told he will serve a year in prison, with the remaining three years on licence upon his release.

His brother Gerard - who appeared on charges arising from two separate incidents in August and October 2013 - was handed a sentence of five years. Half of this sentence will be spent in jail, with the remaining two years and six months on licence when he is released from prison.

Joseph Hughes, who pleaded guilty to a single charge of possessing cocaine with intent to supply, was given a three-year sentence. Six months of this will be spent in jail, with the remaining 30 months on supervised licence upon his release.

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