A 25-year-old man already on bail awaiting trial for drugs charges has appeared in court on multiple allegations of  possessing cannabis and criminal property.

Nathan Johnston whose address was given as Dublin Road, Enniskillen but contended he resides at Hillcrest Drive in Irvinestown, is accused of possessing and being concerned in the supply of cannabis on November 23 as well as possessing and converting criminal property in the form of designer clothing.

Prior to that on July 17 this year, he is accused of three counts each of attempting to possess cannabis with the intention to supply.

The officer in charge of the case told Strabane Magistrates Court all matters could be connected. 

He explained Johnston is currently on bail awaiting trial for similar allegations after a search of his home on November 30, 2020, when £21,000 was seized along with bank documentation showing nearly £73,000 in cryptocurrency transfers from his account.

Large quantities of controlled drugs were also found as well as designer clothing.

In May this year, police in Belfast stopped a vehicle in which Johnston was travelling, with drugs and over £10,000 recovered.

He was then detected week on the latest matters while trying to conceal over £22,000 in a freezer when police entered his property.

The officer said: “The defendant can show no legitimate source of income. In the trial matter a forensic analysis of his bank account showed over £184,000. Since November 2020 over £53,000 has been seized directly from the defendant in three separate incidents.”

In terms of the latest allegations, the officer stated police believe Johnston was tracking the three parcels containing 6.2 kilos of suspected cannabis worth £36,000, which were intercepted between March and July this year.

When interviewed, he claimed to be, “under duress from a male in Dublin over an unpaid drugs debt.”

This person would contact him by phone to arrange cash pick-ups at locations throughout Enniskillen.

Police requested access to Johnston’s mobile phone but he declined to provide the unlocking code.

It was confirmed checks carried out by An Garda Siochana found no-one of the name provided by the defendant, or any variation of it, with links to organised crime or drugs.

The officer advised while Johnston provided a pre-prepared statement with details on this alleged person, “He failed to explain why the three intercepted parcels were being tracked from his address.”

Opposing bail the officer pointed to a strong likelihood of reoffending in a similar nature to recover the losses.

Under defence cross-examination the officer confirmed the duress relates to the cash and Johnston claimed “several people come and go from his home” and may have his WiFi code.

The defence contended both addresses put forward by Johnston are suitable to be released to, but his preference would be Irvinestown.

“He denies the most serious charges and there’s nothing in evidence to attach him to the parcels except the use of his WiFi code and many people had access to his address,” said the defence.

When District Judge Alana McSorley enquired on the cash found in the freezer, the defence replied, “My client worked up a drug-debt with someone in Dublin, who gave him specific instructions on that cash, which he followed. He feared reporting  this to police due to potential reprisals. He was awaiting further instructions as to how that cash would be taken from him.”

Throwing out the application, Judge McSorley remanded Johnston in custody to appear again by video-link at Enniskillen Magistrates Court next month.