Northern Ireland news

Man accused of involvement in drug-dealing network fails in new bid to be released

Mark Rainey was refused bail on charges linked to an investigation into the illicit trade in cocaine and cannabis

A MAN accused of involvement in a drug-dealing network operating in east Belfast has failed in a new bid to be released from custody.

Mark Rainey was refused bail on charges linked to an investigation into the illicit trade in cocaine and cannabis.

The 41-year-old, of St Patricks Walk in the city, was arrested in August this year by detectives from the PSNI's Paramilitary Crime Task Force.

His brother, Glenn Rainey (35) and William Hunter (33) were also detained as part of the probe.

All three men are charged with being concerned in the supply of Class A and Class B drugs.

Glenn Rainey, of McArthur Court in Belfast, and Hunter, from Upper Canning Street in the city, face further counts of possessing cocaine.

The case stretches back to searches carried out in October last year.

Quantities of suspected cocaine, cannabis, cash, scales and dealing bags were seized in the raids.

Police have said they were investigating suspected criminality linked to the east Belfast UVF.

All three men deny the charges against them and are not accused of any paramilitary offences.

A previous court heard claims that a phone attributed to Mark Rainey revealed extensive communication between the defendants about drug dealing.

Prosecutors alleged that Hunter had supplied the two brothers on a wholesale basis in a relationship which involved exchanging messages about the sums they owed him.

As Mark Rainey mounted a fresh application for bail at Belfast Magistrates Court, a defence barrister argued that he should be released due to delays in the case.

Tom McCreanor argued: "The substance of the material relied on by the prosecution has been in the possession of police since October 2020."

However, Deputy District Judge Liam McStay ruled that the accused is to remain in custody.

He confirmed: "I'm not satisfied that there is a change of circumstances at this stage, and I refuse bail."

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