A Newry man who admitted involvement in a multi-million pound money laundering operation 10 years ago is now a "significant mover in an organised crime gang and high tier drug dealer," a barrister has claimed.
Prosecuting counsel Robin Steer further claimed Rory Trainor (43) could be linked to an encrypted mobile phone which was found to contain a "huge number of conversations about transporting cash and drugs."
Trainor, from the Dunbrae Road in the city, appeared at the Magistrates Court, sitting in Lisburn, via video-link from police custody where he was charged when eight offences.
He faces six charges in relation to alleged conspiracies to import and supply class A cocaine and class B cannabis, and single charges accusing him of conspiring to transfer criminal property and entering an arrangement to acquire criminal property, all alleged to have been committed on dates between March 25 and June 15 this year.
Objecting to Trainor being freed on bail due to the risk of further offences and absconding, Mr Steer claimed that in addition to conversations about drugs, officers also uncovered messages about moving and exchanging "large amounts of cash" for sums of up to £125,000, something he submitted was "particularly relevant" for Trainor given his previous convictions.
Describing how Trainor could allegedly be linked to the encrypted handset, which police do not have although they have data from it, the lawyer claimed that he used two user names of "Genghis Khan and Barnbrack".
He told the court that in conversations with another user about renting a property, the person using the hacked phone advises to "tell the landlord that you are a friend of Rory T" which is followed up by another message saying the T stands for "Trainor." When the other user says they're going to use a fake name, Trainor allegedly advises "don't give my name if you are giving a fake ID".
Images taken from the encrypted phone were said to show a weights bench and cycling machine and the court heard that when officers searched Trainor's home "police took comparable images" showing the same items.
"He told another user that his first name was Rory so we say that there's strong evidence linking him to the data," Mr Steer contended, revealing that within the data were messages about "transportation being sent from the Netherlands or crates being sent out to Spain".
"There's reference to changing large amounts of cash - £125k or £35k and £55k," said Mr Steer.
He further revealed that in 2015, Trainor was handed a two-year prison sentence, suspended for three years, for a series of money laundering offences committed in 2008 and 2009.
Trainor was also given a Serious Crime Prevention Order in that case and Mr Steer outlines how he had been running a bureau de change on the Old Dublin Road in Newry where he "exchanged criminal property for criminal gangs, mainly drug dealers, with large amounts of money involved".
When he was sentenced in 2015, the court heard that in the biggest money laundering operation in Irish history, more than £60m had gone through the little bureau de change in just two and a half years.
Yesterday, Mr Steer argued that those previous convictions and the nature of the current allegations were meant there was a risk of further offences being committed, adding there was also a risk of flight as when officers went to his home on July 23, Trainor "ran out the back door" and was not arrested until the following day.
"This is a man, we say, who is a significant mover in an organised crime gang and a high tier drug dealer facing a substantial sentence particularly by reason of his previous convictions," declared the lawyer.
Defence counsel Michael Chambers submitted that the whole prosecution case "rests on linking him" to being the user of the phone but that there were issues with the evidence.
District Judge Nigel Broderick said he had concerns about the both the risk of flight and further offences being committed so "I'm not minded to admit him to bail".
Trainor shook his head as he was remanded into custody and his case adjourned to August 19.