Portuguese men charged with heroin offences

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FIVE Portuguese nationals remain in custody charged with possession and the intent to supply heroin after a series of police raids in Cookstown on Monday.

Helio Filipe Lima Gonclaves (34), Carlos Manuel Goulalues Rolo (48), Antonio Jose Gregorio Sousa (48), Patricio Jorge Humberto Dos Santas (39) and Luis Felipe Damas (31) were all charged with nine offences relating to the class A drug.

Police raided seven houses, leading to the arrests of the five men, who were all living in different parts of Cookstown.

But police say they do not want the addresses of the properties involved to be identified in case the houses are attacked, leading to further issues. The properties were spread throughout the town.

A spokesperson for the PSNI in Cookstown said: “The operation was part of some police work beforehand, but didn’t happen off the cuff.

“It came about by information provided to police by people in the community,” they said.

“It was very much a community operation.”

All five men appeared before District Judge Bernie Kelly at Omagh Magistrates court on Tuesday morning to be formally charged.

Four of the five applied for bail, but were refused and remanded into custody at Maghaberry Jail.

The fifth man could not provide a suitable address for a bail application to be made.

The judge said she would “not free them onto the streets to continue their activities to the detriment of the youth of our community”.

They are next due before a judge at Dungannon Magistrates’ Court on September 4 and will appear by video link from jail.

Trevor Wilson, Ulster Unionist Councillor for Cookstown, has praised the police for a great job.

He said: “I would like to congratulate the police on all their efforts in bringing these men to justice.

“As we are all aware drugs are the scourge of society and anything that can be done to eradicate them is welcome.

“Anybody that has any information on the supply of drugs or sees anything that is suspicious should report it to police.”

Member of the Policing Board and Mid-Ulster DUP MLA, Ian McCrea, has also commended police on a successful drugs operation.

He said: “I welcome the arrest of five men in Cookstown following a police drugs operation.

“I commend the police and would encourage anyone in the area that may have knowledge that could potentially assist further police investigations to come forward and play their part in combating the scourge of drugs in our society.”