A serving PSNI officer who tried to acquire a pistol, ammunition and silencer over the 'dark net' is allegedly involved in drug dealing, a court heard today.
Allen Kennedy was arrested during a sting operation in Belfast last month which also led to the seizure of quantities of cocaine hidden inside drinks tins, a judge was told.
Detectives have rejected the 30-year-old's claims that he was seeking the gun to commit suicide.
Kennedy, whose address was given as c/o Strandtown Police Station in east Belfast, was refused bail amid fears he may flee or re-offend.
He is charged with the attempted possession of a handgun, 10 rounds of ammunition and a silencer in suspicious circumstances and with intent to endanger life.
Kennedy, who is currently suspended from duties, is also accused of having bullets and a shotgun cartridge.
He faces further allegations of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply, and simple possession of cannabis.
Belfast Magistrates' Court heard he was arrested at Annadale Embankment in the city on September 5 after handing over £500 to receive a package.
A detective constable claimed Kennedy had used an online moniker and tag to arrange to buy a Russian pistol, silencer and ammunition over the so-called dark net.
Searches of his vehicle uncovered drugs inside hides disguised as tins of drink and WD-40 oil spray.
Suspected dealer bags and mobiles containing text messages allegedly associated with someone allegedly involved in supplying narcotics were also seized.
Two properties were then raided as part of the investigation which spread to the north Down area.
In one bedroom where Kennedy stayed police found quantities or ecstasy and cannabis, more drug-related paraphernalia, price lists, ammunition and documents linked to the use of the dark net, the court heard.
Mobile phones and laptops were also taken for examination.
Opposing bail, the detective claimed Kennedy's efforts to obtain a gun had been for criminal purposes.
"The attempt to acquire a silencer would indicate someone planning to use the pistol," she said.
Police are till trying to identify the source of the drugs supplied, with the court told that a lengthy investigation is anticipated.
According to the detective Kennedy admitted having associates abroad.
Expressing fears that he may try to use them to flee, she added: "With his ability on the dark net he would be able to purchase a passport quite easily."
She confirmed police do not accept Kennedy's claims about his intentions in seeking the gun.
But defence solicitor Adrian Harvey insisted: "He indicated throughout interview that he was attempting to purchase this weapon to commit suicide."
The lawyer disclosed that since being remanded in custody his client has been diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
"He's still a member of the PSNI without having been subject to disciplinary proceedings which are inevitable due to his arrest," Mr Harvey said.
The court was told Kennedy is a confessed cocaine addict who admitted using the dark web to buy drugs rather than put himself at risk by approaching a dealer.
Rejecting claims of possible interference with witnesses if the accused was released, Mr Harvey contended: "His arrest would be described as a sting operation.
"The person he was contacting on the dark web was a police officer, and the person he met to purchase the firearm was an undercover officer."
But refusing bail, the judge cited Kennedy's "close involvement in an area of technology most of us have no understanding of - this so called dark net where I'm told it's easy to disappear with the benefit of false identification".
He remanded the accused in custody to appear again by video-link in four weeks' time