A MAN who was recently charged in connection with the discovery of an alleged ‘meth lab’ at Ladysmith Terrace in Ballymena has appeared at the town’s Magistrates Court and admitted possessing amphetamine on an earlier date.
Jaroslav Cabala (29), with an address listed as Alexander Park in Ballymena, was sentenced for possessing the Class B drug.
The defendant appeared via video link from prison, where he has been on remand in connection with the ‘meth lab’ charges.
A prosecutor said on June 8 this year police on patrol in Queen Street in Ballymena spoke to the defendant at 9pm and a small amount of amphetamine – 0.2 grammes – was found.
The defendant said it cost between £5-£10.
Defence barrister Stephen Law said the defendant had “impressed the Probation Service” with his “insight” after being on remand for four weeks and being off drugs.
The lawyer said that was “spurred on by his partner now being pregnant”.
The lawyer said the defendant, a Slovakian, had been here for seven years.
Mr Law said Cabala has a “more serious matter” – which was a reference to the ‘meth lab’ allegations.
The barrister said they intend to apply to the High Court for bail on that matter.
Regarding the more serious matter, Mr Law said: “He accepts in part the allegations against him”.
In relation to the June 8 possession offence the barrister said Cabala has struggled with amphetamine misuse and the substance found on that date was for his own use.
He said the defendant had one relevant entry on his record.
For possessing amphetamine, District Judge Nigel Broderick handed down a one month jail term, suspended for one year.
Recently, a court was told 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 in October, the chemicals were deemed so dangerous a specialist police team had to be called in.
In connection with that case, Jaroslav Cabala was charged with being concerned in the producing Class A drugs – methamphetamine.
He was also accused of being concerned in the supply of methamphetamine and possession of ‘speed’ and cannabis.
The lawyer said the defendant firmly denied 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 at the earlier court: “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.