Belfast man jailed for underground drug factory role


A Belfast man was on Thursday jailed for playing a “significant role” in the first underground drug factory uncovered by police in Northern Ireland.

Mark Cavanagh, 40, of India Street, was given a five year and seven month prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce cannabis, conspiracy to possess the drug with intent to supply, possession of the drug with intent to supply, fraudulent evasion on imported goods and converting or concealing criminal property.

The offences were committed on dates between July 1, 2012 and May 22, 2013 following a 12-month surveillance operation by the PSNI’s Organised Crime Branch in Co Down.

Judge Brian Sherrard told Downpatrick Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, that Cavanagh was part of a “criminal organisation or venture” and stood to lose out on “his financial outlay” in the drug growing operation.

The judge ordered the defendant to serve half his sentence in custody and the remainder on supervised licence following his release from prison.