Funeral to be held for Ballymena drug dealer Noel Johnston

A funeral service will be held on Tuesday for Ballymena drug dealer Noel Johnston who fell to his death from a third floor flat during a PSNI drugs operation.

he Police Ombudsman is investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident which happened on Friday night.

Locals claim that the 61-year-old — who was before the courts on fraud charges — tried to escape out the window fearing he was about to be arrested by PSNI officers.

Johnston is believed to have slipped, with the impact of the fall causing fatal internal injuries.

The grandfather of four’s death was said to have devastated the family.

His funeral will take place at the home of his daughter, Danielle, in Ballymena at 11am on October 19 followed by internment at Ballymena cemetery.

The PSNI referred his sudden death to the Ombudsman as it occurred during an ongoing operation.

The raid on Johnston’s apartment was part of a wider operation by the PSNI’s Organised Crime Unit into the supply of drugs across Co Antrim.

He was under investigation by the PSNI over his role in the supply of cocaine via the encrypted Encrochat phone network which was breached by law enforcement agencies last year.

Dozens of alleged prominent criminals are now facing charges as part of the probe.

Johnston was also before the courts accused of masterminding a massive fraud centring on the theft of classic cars and motorcycles, and the staging of minor road crashes in order to obtain compensation claims.

Among the expensive vehicles he is alleged to have stolen are a Rolls Royce Corniche, Audi TT, Holden Monara, MG Midget, Volkswagen Golf and Mercedes ML 500 4×4.

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