Police swooped and found £600 worth of cocaine after watching a person enter and exit another man’s vehicle in a car park in the Ballymena area

A MAN sentenced for offering to supply cocaine claimed he was buying it in bulk on behalf of himself and his friends, Ballymena Magistrates Court was told.

Lee McKelvey (28), of Houston Park in Broughshane, came to police attention on December 27 last year.

He previously pleaded guilty. The first charge sheet lists nine offences.

Charges he was sentenced on  included possession of cocaine and cannabis on December 27 and offering to supply cocaine on two dates in November and offering to supply cannabis on dates in May, October, November and December last year.

A prosecutor said police were on patrol in the Ballymena area on December 27 when they saw the defendant in a vehicle in a car park and saw a a male enter the passenger seat briefly before exiting.

When officers approached the vehicle they smelt cannabis and when they searched McKelvey and the vehicle they found 6.5 grammes of cocaine worth £600 and £10 worth of herbal cannabis, deal bags and a phone.

Police examined messages on the phone.

The prosecutor said the defendant told police it was “cheaper to buy cocaine in bulk” and he admitted he would “offer drugs to friends but for no cash but as further messages were put to him it would seem he was actually offering cannabis and cocaine for certain amounts of money”.

The prosecution lawyer said the defendant indicated he was selling cocaine for £100 for a gramme and cannabis for £50 per half gramme.

Meanwhile, the defendant was also being sentenced for possessing drugs in Broughshane on April 24 this year when police stopped to speak to him and identified a strong smell of cannabis coming from him and before a search he handed over a cannabis joint.

Defence barrister Michael Smyth said the defendant made the case to police that he was making “bulk purchases on behalf of friends” and was selling it at “cost price” to friends to “cover his expenses”.

The lawyer said it was a “smallish group of people over and over again”.

The barrister said the defendant was not “a commercial dealer”.

At the time the defendant was unemployed, the lawyer said, and McKelvey “foolishly decided to act as a go-between between himself and his peers”.

The lawyer said the defendant is now working and no longer has involvement with Class A drugs but admits he still has an issue with cannabis.

District Judge Nigel Broderick gave the defendant a five months jail term but suspended it for three years and also put him on Probation for a year.

The judge said: “The courts take a very dim view of anyone involved in not only possession of drugs but also supplying it.”

He hoped the defendant had “learned his lesson”.

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