Tyrone weapons seizure one of biggest in 10 years, officer tells bail hearing
A weapons haul which a Co Tyrone man has been charged in connection with was one of the largest recovered in the last decade, a court has heard.
The disclosure was made during an unsuccessful bail application at Dungannon Magistrates Court yesterday.
Brian John Carron (34) of Colliers Lane, Coalisland, who was described by an investigating officer as a member of the dissident republic group the New IRA, faces a series of charges.
It is alleged on dates between May 24, 2010 and April 5, 2011 Carron was unlawfully and maliciously in possession of a quantity of Semtex, rocket propellant, home grenade initiators, glucose powder, improvised power units, improvised incendiary devices, eight detonators, rocket propellant, and component parts of an improvised rocket system.
On the same dates it is alleged he had four AKM assault rifles, six loaded magazines and a quantity of 7.62mm short ammunition.
Carron is further accused of possessing two mobile phones and four vehicles in preparation for an act of terrorism.
When first before the court last week a detective inspector said he believed all charges could be connected. The case was adjourned for a week at the request of defence solicitor Peter Corrigan for a bail application.
Carron appeared by video-link and the detective opposed bail, citing a high risk of flight and concerns of reoffending.
Detailing the events leading up to the latest arrest, the detective said Carron's DNA was found on one of the seized AKM rifles recovered from a car.
Described as part of dissident republican grouping the New IRA, Carron was arrested in the past in connection with the investigation.
He was released and no charges initially followed, although the court heard Carron was under investigation for taking part in a republican commemoration in Coalisland last year while allegedly wearing a paramilitary uniform.
The detective said: "Police believe the defendant continues to show support for dissident republican activity, around which there is currently a heightened threat.
"During interview he was given numerous opportunities to provide explanations, but he refused to answer any questions.
"If convicted the defendant faces a significant custodial sentence and if released on bail may flee. This find was one of the biggest arms and weapons recoveries in the last 10 years and the defendant's DNA has been found on one of the AKM rifles."
Arguing Carron was a suitable candidate for bail and highlighting the presumption of innocence, Mr Corrigan said: "The DNA sample in question was taken at first arrest. It was analysed in Northern Ireland and returned no result.
"It was then sent to the USA - not for new techniques or enhancement - but for a statistical report, which was more to do with maths than science."
He added: "A mixed DNA profile was found and there is absolutely no evidence linking my client to the murder of Ronan Kerr, and he appears to be charged on a more general basis."
District Judge John Meehan refused the application and Carron was remanded to appear again by video-link on July 25.