‘Dark web’ gun plot man back in court on drugs charges

FacebookTwitterEmailWhatsApp A Newtownabbey man, who earlier this week was jailed for an attempt to buy handguns on the ‘dark net’ which police believe may have been destined for the South East Antrim, has now been in court and admitted drugs charges. Darren Bennett (23), of Church Road, appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court today via video […]

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A Newtownabbey man, who earlier this week was jailed for an attempt to buy handguns on the ‘dark net’ which police believe may have been destined for the South East Antrim, has now been in court and admitted drugs charges.

Darren Bennett (23), of Church Road, appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court today via video link from Maghaberry Prison.

He pleaded guilty to charges of possessing herbal cannabis and Diazepam which were found in a bedside cabinet along with scales and plastic bags in January, 2017.

He was sentenced to two months in prison for the new offences.

A defence lawyer said the defendant had been given a custodial sentence earlier this week in Belfast.

At Laganside Court in Belfast, Bennett, who had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess two Glock pistols, 20 rounds of ammunition and attempted possession of cocaine and MDMA in February last year had been jailed for 20 months, plus a further 28 on licensed parole.

The ‘dark web’ gun plot came undone because Bennett (23), who was handling the negotiations, was unaware he was dealing with two undercover police officers.

A prosecution lawyer told the Belfast court text messages between a co-defendant and Bennett showed “that the attempt to possess the firearms was in the context of the ongoing feud in Carrickfergus at the time”.

Speaking outside the court in Belfast, a Detective Inspector from the Paramilitary Crime Task Force had said: “We believe these weapons would have ended up under the control of paramilitaries, who seek to rule communities with fear. In this case, we believe these weapons may have been destined for use by the South East Antrim UDA.

“In addition, a quantity of class A drugs was seized, which I believe Mr Bennett intended to sell.”

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