Lurgan men jailed for drugs offences

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Four Lurgan men have been jailed for sentences ranging from three to sixteen months after they were caught with a kilo of cannabis in their car.

Dungannon Court heard that Michael Evans (23) Drumnamoe Gardens, Jack Coleman (24) Drumnamoe Gardens, Jonathan French (23) Ashgrove Close, Lurgan, and Shea Reynolds (22), Castle Mews, were found with a kilo of cannabis shortly after their Audi car was searched by police in April 28 last year.

A sum of £16,000 was also found on a motor- bike that was in close vicinity to the car.

Evans pleaded guilty to possession of herbal cannabis with intent to supply and possession of cocaine on April 28 and 29 last year.

Coleman pleaded guilty to possession of herbal cannabis with intent to supply, possession of cocaine with intent to supply, possession of cannabis and possession of Zopiclone on the same dates.

French admitted a charge of having herbal cannabis with intent to supply on April 28. And Reynolds pleaded guilty to charges of having herbal cannabis with intent to supply and possession of cannabis on April 28 and 29 last year.

A fifth defendant, Richard Greer Purdy (26) Dunore Avenue, Moygashel who was due to be sentenced for possession of criminal property had his case adjourned until December 5.

In jailing all four defendants, Judge Stephen Fowler said that while they were not the prime organizers in selling drugs they had a significant role.

In reviewing the Prosecution evidence, Judge Fowler said police stopped the defendant’s near the M1 motorway on the date in question.

The vehicle had been seen at a hotel earlier that day and a motor- bike followed it.

In follow up searches, police found herbal cannabis and cocaine that could be linked to the defendants.

The judge said he was satisfied that all four were part of a joint enterprise in the sale and supply of the drugs.

Judge Fowler said all defendants had previous records. Michal Evans had six previous convictions with two for possession of drugs. Jonathan French had 17 previous convictions with one for possession of drugs. Jack Coleman had a clear record.

Reynolds had five previous convictions for drugs and had been jailed for cultivating drugs already at the Crown Court.

Meanwhile Evans lives at home with his parents who were disappointed in him but were supporting him. He has a partner who was a stabilizing influence on him and had a child from a previous relationship. This defendant was assessed as being at a medium risk of re-offending and had some issues with drug abuse. He was currently unemployed.

French was also described as being at a medium risk of re-offending and had long standing issued with cannabis.

Coleman was also described as being at a medium risk of re-offending.

Reynolds, who was the youngest had a most “prolific record. He had a very difficult upbringing and alcohol played a big role in his home.This defendant had been in care until he was 16 and had difficulty in getting accommodation and had only been settled these past six months. Alcohol and drugs had played a big role in his life since he became a teenager. He had been released from jail a month before the current matter before the court.

Judge Fowler said this defendant said he was “motivated by a drug debt” and he was classed as being at a high risk of re-offending.

The judge said the custody threshold had been passed in all four cases and sentencing depended partly on the level of involvement and the role the four had in a “criminal enterprise”.

The judge said it was clear that all four were involved with intent to supply cannabis.

If the matters before the court had been contested, a jail sentence of 18-24 months would have been imposed.

Judge Fowler said all four were involved in a degree of planning in supplying drugs and were “trusted participants” in the supply of drugs.

The judge said Reynolds had made an early plea and the others pleaded guilty at later dates.

Judge Fowler jailed Evans for 16 months, with eight months in custody and eight months on licence for having herbal cannabis with intent to supply.

He jailed the defendant for six months for possession of the drug and this was concurrent.

Judge Fowler jailed French for 16 months, with eight months in custody and eight months on licence for having herbal cannabis with intent to supply.

Judge Fowler jailed Coleman for six months for having cocaine with intent to supply.

He jailed the defendant for six months for possession of cannabis and three months possession of Zopiclone.

These sentences were concurrent.

Judge Fowler jailed Reynolds for 16 months with eight months in custody and eight on licence for having cannabis with intent to supply and six months concurrently for possession of the drug.