Cookstown bouncy castle operator on charges relating to drugs factory raid

A bouncy castle operator was allegedly caught at the drugs factory where £600,000 worth of cocaine was seized, the High Court heard today (Friday, March 19).

Friday, 19th March 2021, 3:41 pm
Updated Friday, 19th March 2021, 3:53 pm

Prosecutors claimed Luke Donaghy, 25, was wearing a white chemical-style suit and two pairs of rubber gloves when police raided a property in Cookstown, Co Tyrone.

Officers also recovered £10,000 in cash and cannabis-infused chocolate bars during the operation on October 8 last year.

Donaghy, of Killymoon Road in the town, faces charges of possessing Class A and B drugs with intent to supply, and having criminal property.

He was refused bail due to the risk of potential further offences.

Crown lawyer Kate McKay said he was among three men present when police entered the home of a co-accused at Drumearn Road.

A hydraulic press, blenders and boxes of white powder were confiscated.

Tests carried out on the haul confirmed that it included 2.5 kilos of cocaine with an estimated street value of £600,000, the court heard.

Donaghy and one of the other two men in the house were allegedly dressed in white overalls and had rubber gloves on.

Mrs McKay said further searches were carried out at another property in Cookstown linked to Donaghy.

“At that address several vehicles were seized, along with 50 bouncy castles and a number of hot tubs,” the barrister disclosed.

Mr Justice Rooney was told Donaghy is registered as running a bouncy castle business in Cookstown.

Opposing bail, counsel argued: “This is sophisticated, organised crime at a high level, a cocaine factory was found when the premises were searched.”

The court also heard the case is allegedly linked to a major investigation into a suspected drug-dealing network involving the use of encrypted phones.

Defence barrister Michael Forde disputed assertions that a high-value car had been seized as part of the probe into his client.

“This was a hire-purchase vehicle, it’s not some £60,000 to £70,000 car paid for by cash,” he insisted.

Mr Forde also argued that a co-accused has already been released on bail.

But ruling that Donaghy must remain in custody, the judge said: “These are very serious offences. I’m concerned about the risk of re-offending and the risk of flight.”

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