Smuggler's illegal assets worth over £1m

Published Tuesday, 24 June 2014
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An international drugs smuggler, who was caught smuggling £800,000 of herbal cannabis into Derry from Co Donegal two years ago, had amassed illegal assets valued at £1,042,000, a court has heard.

Smuggler's illegal assets worth over £1m
The PSNI released an image of the cannabis seized during the operation. (© PSNI)

Father of two Mark McPhillips, 35, from Elmvale in the Culmore area of Derry, smuggled the drugs into Ireland from Holland shortly after he had visited Amsterdam.

Forty kilograms of the drug were stored in an industrial park at Frenchpark in Co Roscommon before they were transported to a location in Co Sligo.

On 14 May 2012, McPhillips drove to Co Sligo in a rented van. He packed the drugs into kitchen cupboards inside the van and drove across the border to Derry.

However, minutes after he'd crossed the Derry-Donegal border, members of the PSNI's Organised Crime Branch swooped and stopped the van on the Glengalliagh Road.

McPhillips was arrested and police later found a quantity of the Class A drug MDMA concealed in the engine compartment of his BMW X5 jeep.

Last November, McPhillips was jailed for seven years after he admitted numerous charges related to the drugs seizures.

Following his jailing, PSNI forensics accountants carried out a full audit of his assets. The audit included the value of the drugs seized, the values of several properties he owned, money in his bank accounts and the value of his BMW X5 jeep.

A prosecution barrister told Judge Philip Babington that forensic accountants had valued McPhillip's illegal assets at £1,042,000. He also had realisable assets of £1,870.50.

The jeep was subject to a disposal order with proceeds of more than £13,000 going to charity.

Judge Babington made a confiscation order for the realisable assets and warned McPhillips if he didn't pay the sum he would spend another 45 days in jail.

Meanwhile speaking after the court hearing, Detective Inspector Tom McClure, from the PSNI's Organised Crime Branch, said because of his criminality McPhillips was serving a jail sentence, has been left homeless, carless, penniless and bankrupt.

"He has a million pound outstanding confiscation order hanging over him. Should he at any future date be found to have assets of any substantial value, whether obtained legitimately or not, he will be returned to court to be made to pay the confiscation order.

"We will continue to use every lawful opportunity to ensure individuals playing leading roles in organised crime lose not only their liberty but also their wealth", he said.

"While in custody McPhillips failed to maintain payments in relation to various properties resulting in further civil action which ultimately led to bankruptcy and repossession proceedings," he added.

© UTV News
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