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UDA crime gang linked to cannabis haul

Cannabis seized from a caravan is allegedly linked to the UDA, a terrorist organisation in Northern Ireland, the High Court has heard. Around £10,000 in bundles of cash was also recovered during last week’s police raid.

The cannabis was located in a master bedroom of the static home in Millisle, Co Down. Mark Matthew Magowan, 40, from Belfast, faces a further count of having criminal property.
He was arrested along with a 44-year-old woman during the police operation on October 22.

A Crown lawyer alleged the case is connected to the “West Belfast UDA organised crime gang”.

The court heard Magowan’s female co-accused claimed she had been under duress from local paramilitaries.

“She said she fell foul of one paramilitary group and was offered sanctuary by another,” the prosecutor added.

Defence counsel Richard McConkey argued that Magowan knows nothing about the drugs.

“He doesn’t own the caravan … it’s not as though these items were found at his home,” the barrister stressed.

“At the minute there isn’t any forensic evidence to link him.”

Bail was refused, however, due to the risk of potential reoffending.

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