Donegal man described as ‘a significant member of an organised crime gang’

A Donegal man described by police as 'a significant member of an organised crime gang' involved in the importation of drugs into the North has appeared at Derry Magistrate's Court.

25 year old Blaine Curtis of Drumitoland, St Johnston faced a total of five charges, relating to dates in August last year and June 20 this year.

The defendant is charged with conspiring to supply cannabis valued at £120,000, conspiring to supply cocaine and converting criminal property including £214,216 and €224,000.

Derry Magistrate's Court was told that this case was a 'proactive major investigation' into the activities of an organised crime gang responsible for importing drugs.

A police officer told the court that they believed the gang were laundering the proceeds from the drugs by buying luxury cars and other high value items like jewellery.

17 people have been arrested and charged so far in the investigation with police believing the principal of the gang appeared in court last week.

During Police interview Curtis admitted receiving £3,000 from the Patrick O' Connor, who police claim is the leader of the gang, and depositing it in an account at a jewellers as part of a money laundering scheme.

In August, the defendant's brother was arrested in connection to a large drugs seizure and on the day in question over 40 phone calls were recorded between the pair which the officer said was 'not the normal communication' between brothers.

The defendant has been remanded in custody to appear again on July 27.