Northern Ireland news

Alleged UDA drug dealer refused bail

AN alleged UDA drug dealer was refused bail today amid fears that he would commit further offences.

Ryan Andrew Tosh (33) spoke only to confirm that he understood the seven charges against him when he appeared at Newtownards court.

Tosh, from Kearney Gardens in Bangor, Co Down, is accused of membership of the UDA on dates between November 7 and December 14 last year and six drug offences including that he was concerned in the supply class A cocaine and class B drugs amphetamine and cannabis, possession and possession of class A cocaine with intent to supply on dates between February 6 and December 14 last year.

He is also charged with simple possession of cannabis on June 3 this year.

A police officer said he believed he could connect Tosh to the charges.

He revealed that Tosh was originally arrested in December last year after police raided a property on the Birch Road in Bangor.

During the search police uncovered eight bags of white powder, seven of which transpired to be 12.34 grams of cocaine with a 75 per cent purity while police believe the eighth bag contained a cutting agent.

Also seized was an iPhone, which Tosh accepted was his, and “deal bags.”

Questioned at that stage, Tosh claimed the drugs were “for personal use” but the Detective Constable added that Tosh was re-arrested on June 3 under the Terrorism Act as a result of what officers found on the phone.

The officer said there were 500 text messages which “detailed involvement in the supply of controlled drugs” along with a WhatsApp message on November 10 which said “that he had joined the UDA.”

He told the court that in the WhatsApp conversation, Tosh spoke about being “approached by two individuals demanding £5,000.”

Describing it as a “Good Thursday Agreement,” Tosh reportedly stayed that he would pay them £300” a month.

“On 10 November 2018 he sent a message stating that he had joined the UDA,” claimed the officer adding, “he explained the duties of attending a Remembrance Sunday parade on the Shankill Road.

“He states that he was previously a member of the UYM, joking that he ‘may have to do training again,’” the officer told the court.

Questioned for a second time, Tosh “replied ‘no comment’” to officers’ questions about his alleged involvement with the UDA and drug dealing.

Defence solicitor Patrick Hunt submitted that with a proposed bail address in the Lisburn area, Tosh could be freed on bail, albeit with “serious bail conditions” such as daily reporting and being electronically tagged.

Refusing to free him however, District Judge Steven Keown said he was “concerned about the likelihood of further offences” .

Tosh was remanded into custody to appear again via videolink on June 28.

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