Northern Ireland

Four in court over police raids on organised crime

Londonderry Crown Court
Image caption Three of the four appeared at Londonderry Magistrates' Court on Thursday

Four people have appeared in court after a major police investigation into organised crime.

It follows raids at 20 properties across Northern Ireland - more than half of which were in Derry - that involved about 400 officers.

The charges relate to assets worth more than £1m that include property, cash, drugs and high value jewellery - including valuable Rolex watches.

These were seized by the PSNI over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday.

Three of the accused appeared at Londonderry Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

Image caption A 36-year-old man appeared at court in Strabane

Mark Anthony Kelly, 41, a tyre exhaust fitter from the city, faces one charge of conspiracy to supply herbal cannabis and nine other various money-laundering offences.

'A diamond ring'

A couple also appeared before the court on a total of 26 charges.

Patrick Pierce O'Connor, who was described by police as a principal member of the crime gang, is from Stoneypath in the city.

The 47-year-old faces 17 charges, relating to money-laundering, concealing criminal property and converting criminal property.

Four charges relate to Rolex watches worth £456,000,

He faces a further charge of possessing criminal property include a diamond ring and other high value items.

He also faces two offences of conspiracy to supply cannabis and cocaine.

The man's 35-year-old wife, Misha O'Connor, faces nine charges including acquiring and possessing criminal property, and money-laundering.

Mrs O'Connor was released on bail with strict conditions imposed.

Patrick O'Connor and Mark Kelly were remanded in custody until 20 July.

Appearing later in the day at Strabane Magistrates' Court was father-of-two Barry Fox from Dunavon Park in Dungannon.

The 36-year-old was charged with conspiracy to supply a Class B drug, entering an arrangement to acquire criminal property, converting criminal property, and possession of a Class B drug.

Mr Fox was remanded on bail to appear at Bishop Street Courthouse in Derry on 3 July.

A fifth person arrested in connection with the operation is due to appear at Belfast Magistrates' Court next month.

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