East European trio with ‘suspected organised crime ties’ freed on bail following meth-making charges

Two men and a woman appeared in court today accused of links to the production of methamphetamine in Belfast.

Friday, 20th August 2021, 4:33 pm
Generic image of methamphetamine from a US government website

The trio, all from eastern Europe, were arrested following a police surveillance operation at a shopping centre on Wednesday.

Marek Richter, 48, and his 43-year-old partner Henrieta Bozokova, both of Prospect Grove in Carrickfergus, are jointly charged with being concerned in producing Class A drugs.

They also both face a count of possessing criminal property.

Generic image of methamphetamine from a US government website

Co-accused Ladislav Billo, 34, from Mountcollyer Avenue in north Belfast, is charged with possessing and being concerned in the production of methamphetamine.

The city’s Magistrates Court heard the three defendants were allegedly seen together at a retail park in the York Street area.

Richter and Bozokova were then stopped in a car containing up to £2,000 in cash and a set of scales, it was claimed.

Chemicals which police suspect may be used in the making of methamphetamine were said to have been discovered during subsequent searches at a house.

Opposing bail for the accused, a detective claimed there were connections to an organised crime gang.

Defence solicitor Mark Austin, representing Richter and Bozokova, challenged the strength of the case against his clients.

He argued there was no evidence that any chemicals found at their home were used in the production of Class A drugs.

However, Deputy District Judge Liam McStay held that police suspicions were enough to connect the accused to the charges.

All three defendants were granted bail on conditions, to appear again in court next month.

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers — and consequently the revenue we receive — we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to newsletter.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.