Two men were sent to jail today (Thursday) for the roles they played in a “well organised” drug dealing outfit.
The men - John Francis Boyd (46) and Martin Sean Feenan (35) - were caught with around £50,000 worth of cocaine in a police sting involving undercover officers and a helicopter.
Accepting that Boyd and Feenan were not the drug operation’s directors, Judge Geoffrey Miller QC said anyone involved in the “evil and pernicious” drugs trade must pay the consequences by going to prison.
When officers arrested the duo in a car park in Glengormley, Feenan was driving the car while his passenger Boyd was caught with a package of the Class A drug on his knee.
Boyd, a father-of-three from Bawnmore Drive was handed a five year sentence while Feenan, also a father-of-three and from Colmcille Road in Downpatrick, was given a three year sentence.
Before being sent to prison, both men were informed by Judge Miller that they will serve half their term in jail, with the remainder of the sentence on licence when they are released.
Prior to passing sentence, Crown barrister Peter Magill said the cocaine was seized during a police operation on May 24 last year.
As part of the operation, officers followed a car being driven by Feenan and with Boyd on board. The car stopped outside a house in Bawnmore, Boyd got out of the vehicle and entered the house for a short period then returned to the car carrying a bag.
The car was stopped a short distance away at a car park in Glengormley. When the vehicle was searched, police located a wrap of cocaine containing 12.88 grams in the central console. A bag containing a further 1.01 kilograms of the Class A drug with a purity of 9 per cent was found in the front passenger’s footwell.
Mr Magill said the Crown accepted that Feenan was a driver and Boyd was a courier. The prosecutor also told the court that when Boyd’s mobile was examined, there were texts that were “clearly relevant to drug dealing.”
Mr Magill concluded by saying there were “other people involved” in the operation who were not before the court.
While Boyd admitted a charge of being concerned in the supply of cocaine, co-accused Feenan pleaded guilty to both being concerned in and also of possessing cocaine with intent to supply.
Defence barrister Denis Boyd, representing John Boyd, said he became involved moving the drugs for paramilitaries who put pressure on him to do so.
Saying the pressure left Boyd “terrified”, the barrister said Boyd “deeply regrets” his involvement, adding “when he was arrested he was glad to go into custody to get away from them.”
Mr Boyd said his client had displayed “genuine remorse” and was aware of the dangers drugs can cause to both users and communities.
Feenan’s barrister Jon Connolly said his client had been used as a patsy and was only aware of the drugs link when he saw Boyd coming out of the house with a package.
Telling the court there was no evidence to link Feenan to the drugs trade, Mr Connolly said that on the day in question his client had done the school run before he became involved in his “ridiculous activity.”
Jailing the pair, Judge Miller said the police operation consisted of undercover officers and air support. Branding the drugs operation as a “relatively sophisticated and well organised outfit”, Judge Miller said he accepted there were others “further up the chain” who were involved but were not before the court.