Court hears ‘meth lab’ property in Ballymena was ‘stacked to the rafters’ with equipment and dangerous chemicals

Ballymena Courthouse

A MAN has been remanded in custody after police said a property in Ballymena was “stacked to the rafters” with equipment and chemicals for use in a ‘meth lab’.

A police officer told Coleraine Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena on Monday, the chemicals were deemed so dangerous a specialist police team had to be called in.

Jaroslav Cabala (29), with an address listed as Ladysmith Terrace in Ballymena, is charged with being concerned in the producing Class A drugs – methamphetamine.

He is also accused of being concerned in the supply of methamphetamine and possession of ‘speed’ and cannabis relating to Saturday.

The defendant appeared at court via video link from Antrim Police Station.

A police officer believed he could connect the accused to the charges.

Objecting to bail the officer said police attended a property at Ladysmith Terrace on Saturday in response to a ‘concern for safety’ and whilst there police observed substances.

During a further search of a property officers unearthed a “large quantity of chemicals” and because of “danger” a specialist team was called in and that only took place on Monday.

The officer said the house was “completely stacked to the rafters with lab equipment”.

He said apparatus was discovered in the attic which he said was used to take gas and toxic substances away.

The officer said “organised crime” was a key part of the investigation due to the size of the discovery.

The policeman said police believed drugs were being produced “for some time”.

During interview, the officer said Cabala admitted possession of drugs.

A defence solicitor said the defendant has lived in Northern Ireland for six years and works with a firm which puts soft furnishings on playgrounds.

The lawyer said the defendant firmly denies being a manufacturer of drugs or being concerned in the supply of drugs and believed some of the substances had been left by somebody else “for cleaning purposes”.

The solicitor said the defendant was using some substances to “paint his bicycle”.

District Judge Liam McNally asked: “How many bikes did he have because the police constable says that the house was stacked full of these chemicals and laboratory equipment?”

The judge added: “This is a serious case. When I read what was found, the scale of the chemicals and the lab equipment, it appears that there was very strong evidence of an attempt to produce a Class A drug”.

Judge McNally said there was a “very high risk” of the defendant not returning to court and re-offending if bail was granted which he refused.

The defendant was remanded in custody to appear back at court on November 17.

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