An all-Ireland winning GAA star is at the centre of the UK's biggest ever investigation into organised crime.
Peter Loughran - who won the Sam Maguire trophy with Tyrone in 2003 - is one of six Northern Irishmen facing charges arising from Operation Venetic led by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
Sunday Life can reveal the 45-year-old was arrested at his home near Dungannon on June 23 after the secretive EncroChat phone network was breached by a foreign government.
Police say major criminals throughout Europe were using the service to conduct drugs and arms deals, as well as planning murders.
Loughran, who is known to be friendly with senior republicans, appeared at Dungannon Magistrates Court on June 25 to face eight charges.
He is accused of importing millions of pounds worth of cocaine and cannabis into Northern Ireland, and laundering huge amounts of criminal money. The retired GAA star was remanded in custody and will appear in court again on July 16.
As part of the NCA's UK-wide Operation Venetic the PSNI has conducted 25 searches, seized 15 EncroChat phones, recovered £360,000 worth of cash, taken 2.5 kilos of cocaine and cannabis, as well as three high-end vehicles, jewellery and designer clothes.
Six people from Northern Ireland, one of whom is Loughran, are facing a total of 44 charges ranging from conspiracy to commit murder, possession of criminal property and drugs offences.
Among the suspects is Michael O'Loughlin (40), with an address in Warrenpoint, who is accused of two murder plots, drug dealing and money laundering.
Another alleged drug supplier is Newry man Bryan McManus (64) who is charged with conspiring with others to import cocaine and cannabis. He was remanded in custody at Craigavon Magistrates Court on Friday. McManus is also accused of concealing and converting criminal property.
The court heard that engineer McManus, from Aileen Terrace, is a co-accused of Harold McCullough and Joseph Kearney.
Last month McCullough, from The Square in Greyabbey, appeared at Newtownards Magistrates Court facing nine similar charges and was remanded into custody. Joseph Kearney (38) appeared in court last Thursday to face charges of possessing cannabis with intent to supply and money laundering. Over £250,000 was found by cops who searched his Juniper Park home in Dunmurry.
This newspaper has learned that information from the EncroChat network, which was breached on March 25 by what is believed to be the Israeli security services, led to the seizure of £12m worth of cannabis in Templepatrick last month.
The 600 kilo haul - the largest ever recovered by police in Northern Ireland - was intercepted after the PSNI and NCA monitored messages detailing how it was being smuggled.
They watched as it travelled through England and Scotland, before arriving on the ferry at Larne and was loaded onto a lorry which was stopped as it was being driven through Co Antrim.
Three men - aged 62, 37 and 32 - from Tyrone, Derry and Armagh were arrested before being freed on police bail.
After being given access to the EncroChat network at the end of March detectives from the NCA looked on in astonishment as hundreds of high-level gangsters used it to conduct serious crime.
The difficult-to-obtain phones, which cost between £1,500 and £2,000, work off wireless internet connections and only send texts or picture messages.
They were bought exclusively by criminals, with the Dutch-based EncroChat warning users to destroy the devices three weeks ago when it realised its data had been breached.
In a text message sent to phone owners, the company said: "Due to the level of sophistication of the attack and the malware code, we can no longer guarantee the security of your device.
"We took immediate action on our network by disabling connectivity to combat the attack. You are advised to power off and physically dispose of your device immediately."
But by then it was too late - police forces throughout Europe had already made hundreds of arrests and disrupted major criminal activity.
Among these were a joint PSNI/HM Revenue and Customs raid in Newry that led to the seizure of eight million illegal cigarettes worth £3m in lost government taxes.
Also taken during the May 30 searches were a lorry, its refrigerated unit, a van, forklift truck and £14,000 in cash.
At the same time gardai were carrying out raids just a few miles across the border during which €100,000, two and a half thousand tonnes of hand-rolling tobacco and several heavy goods vehicles were confiscated.
This operation targeted a cigarette smuggling gang led by three prominent ex-Provisional IRA members, who ended up joining dissident groups which they later left to concentrate solely on criminality. One of the trio - from east Tyrone - had a property linked to him raided two weeks ago by the NCA. It was this individual who sanctioned the murder of PSNI constable Ronan Kerr in 2011. The Catholic officer was targeted in a booby-trap car bomb attack.
Peter Loughran - the All-Ireland winning Tyrone GAA star charged with being a major cocaine importer - would know the republican through the local GAA football scene.
One source told Sunday Life: "If it turns out he (the republican) was involved in smuggling cocaine as well as cigarettes it will finish him."
Loughran's arrest will stun Tyrone in which he is regarded as a hero for helping the county win the All-Ireland football championship in 2003.
An unused substitute in the final, he was pictured leaping off the bench with manager Mickey Harte at the final whistle in a packed Croke Park.
The dad-of-four, from Tamnamore Road near Dungannon, is considered an upstanding member of the community and is married to a grammar school teacher.
Sources say that prior to his arrest on drugs and money laundering charges Loughran had been talking of buying property in Dubai, which he has previously visited on holiday.
Outlining the scale of the Operation Venetic investigation into the criminal Encrochat phone network, the NCA's Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Freeburn said: "This has been the largest and most significant law enforcement operation ever mounted in the UK in the fight against organised crime groups.
"This operation should send a clear message that with the combined strength of PSNI working in partnership with our law enforcement partners, no one is beyond the reach of the law."