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Ex-GAA star Loughran arrested in cocaine probe refused bail for third time

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A former Tyrone GAA star arrested as part of a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into an encrypted phone network has been refused bail again

A former Tyrone GAA star arrested as part of a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into an encrypted phone network has been refused bail again

A former Tyrone GAA star arrested as part of a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into an encrypted phone network has been refused bail again

A former Tyrone GAA star arrested as part of a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into an encrypted phone network has been refused bail again.

Peter Loughran's third failed attempt came weeks after a similar High Court application was dismissed.

Loughran, of Tamnamore Road near Dungannon, is accused of fraudulently importing, being concerned in supply and conspiring to possess cocaine.

The 45-year-old, who was part of the Tyrone squad that won the All-Ireland football final in 2003, is also charged with conspiring to transfer and convert cash between March and June this year.

Considered to be "a leader in a criminal group, with a significant role", Loughran has already been refused High Court bail twice by different judges. Yesterday he appeared by video-link at Strabane Magistrates Court, where the defence claimed they are being "improperly denied access to details."

According to the prosecution, Loughran has connections to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), based on discussions of money moved between him and a subordinate. Evidence on UAE monies is sought by defence, who argued it is required to challenge previous bail refusals.

Loughran, said the defence, denies being the user of an encrypted phone network cracked by the NCA.

Originally refused bail in July, a second attempt was mounted before Mr Justice McAlinden last month, who noted the prosecution are asserting Loughran sent large sums of money to UAE but contend they do not know where that has gone. Having concluded Loughran could access it, the judge "refused to grant bail", said the defence lawyer.

It was suggested text messages discussing money sent to UAE was to pay for drugs, not destined for a bank account which Loughran could access.

The prosecution are refusing to release their evidence.

The defence continued: "I'm not demanding they disclose state secrets or the entirety of their case. Without it we can't have a fair hearing ... I ask the court to adjudicate either directing the prosecution give us the detail or alternatively, admit my client to bail."

He added: "This hearing cannot be conducted fairly unless the prosecution produce that material."

But District Judge Mark McGarrity refused bail.

Belfast Telegraph