A CRIME gang drug boss suspected of flooding Northern Ireland with drugs is behind bars.
And a court has heard that as a result of the ‘Mr Big’ losing his liberty, his suspected gang of drug dealers could well be in disarray.
A co-accused on Tuesday was granted bail over his alleged role in the £200,000 distribution plot of Class A and Class B drugs.
At the High Court in Belfast Mr Justice O’Hara agreed to release Steve McBride after being told the alleged “main man” in the cocaine and amphetamines operation is behind bars.
But he banned the 26-year-old from leaving Limavady, where he will stay with a relative, so that police can monitor him.
McBride, of Foundry Court, Coleraine, Co Londonderry faces charges of possessing Class A and Class B drugs with intent to supply.
He was arrested last September as part of a police investigation which also involved surveillance of a co-accused.
Officers recovered £15,000 worth of cocaine in a car used by McBride, the court heard.
Further searches of a transit van linked to the accused led to the discovery of nine sealed bags of amphetamines inside a household oven.
According to the prosecution, those drugs weighed 2kg and are estimated to be worth at least £180k.
Mr Justice O’Hara was told the alleged leader of the drugs supplying operation has been refused bail since being arrested last month.
In exchanges with a defence lawyer, he said: “One interpretation is this gang is in disarray if the person identified by both the Crown and your client as the main man is in custody.”
Prosecutors maintained their opposition to McBride being released, arguing that others are involved in the drug dealing plot.
Acknowledging their position, the judge said: “It must be damaging if the person identified as the leader is arrested.
“But there are other people who are not going to go looking at their job centre for work.”
He ruled that McBride could be granted bail once his sister puts up a £7,500 cash surety.
The accused was ordered to surrender his passport and banned from using a mobile phone or any form of private transport.
Warning McBride that the money could be lost if he breaches the release terms, Mr Justice O’Hara added: “You will face repercussions within the family.
“Whatever you think about the court, don’t let your sister down.”