19/02/2024

Fourteen Sentenced In East Belfast UVF Investigation

The PSNI have welcomed the sentencing of thirteen men and one woman in connection with an investigation into suspected criminality linked to the East Belfast UVF by the Paramilitary Crime Task Force.

The defendants were sentenced over the five-week period, from 11 January to 16 February, at Belfast Crown Court.

The charges predominantly related to drugs criminality, with 13 of the 14 defendants sentenced for drug-related activities. Other offences related to misconduct in public office.

Temporary Detective Superintendent Avine Kelly said: "The recent sentencings follow an investigation into the largescale supply of drugs by the East Belfast UVF, along with its associates involved in this drug-dealing network.

"The Paramilitary Crime Task Force carried out initial searches of two properties in east Belfast in 2018. A number of mobile phones were seized and the investigation, including an examination of phone messages, lead to the identification of all 14 defendants. Following further search operations on the 22nd and 29th March 2019, all fourteen were arrested.

"This has been an extensive operation, through which quantities of harmful Class A and Class B drugs, namely cocaine and cannabis, have been removed from our streets. Sums of cash, totalling almost two and a half thousand pounds, have been removed from the pockets of paramilitaries. Ultimately, over the course of the last five weeks, fourteen people have been brought before court.

"Today, the court granted a forfeiture order in respect of the cash seized, £2,405, in favour of the Police Service."

Temporary Detective Superintendent Kelly continued: "Working with partners on the Paramilitary Crime Task Force, we remain committed to tackling and disrupting the criminal activities of paramilitary groups. These people use a regime of fear and violence to exercise their control over the most vulnerable members of our communities. Through criminal activities such as drug dealing, they have one aim only, and that's to line their own pockets. They don't care about the resultant devastation and those lives ruined, even lost, along the way.

She added: "The Paramilitary Crime Task Force is a multi-agency task force set up in Northern Ireland to protect communities by tackling all forms of criminality linked to paramilitarism. It consists of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the National Crime Agency and HM Revenue & Customs.

"As well as the collective efforts of our partners, we rely upon the support of communities, and I'm taking this opportunity to appeal to anyone with information to please speak up. You can contact our officers on 101, or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers with 100% anonymity.”

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has provided a breakdown of the sentencings:
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• Mark Rainey, aged 43, appearing before court on 11 January 2024 was sentenced to three years – half to be served in custody and half on licence. This was subsequently reduced on 25 January to two years and nine months – half to be served in custody and half on licence. Offences include possession of a Class A controlled drug, being concerned in the supply of a Class A controlled drug, intentionally encouraging or assisting another to commit misconduct in public office, and conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

• Glenn Rainey, aged 37, appearing before court on 11 January, was sentenced to three years – half to be served in custody and half on licence – for being concerned in the supply of a Class A controlled drug. This was subsequently reduced on 25 January to two years and nine months – half to be served in custody and half on licence.

• Daniel Baine, aged 37, appearing before court on 11 January, was sentenced to 18 months – half to be served in custody and half on licence – for being concerned in the supply of a Class A controlled drug and converting criminal property.

• Darren Baine, aged 34, appearing before court on 19 January, was sentenced to 15 months, suspended for three years, for being concerned in the supply of a Class A controlled drug.

• Dean Bailie, aged 29, appearing before court on 19 January, was sentenced to 15 months, suspended for three years, for offences including being concerned in the supply of a Class A controlled drug. A sentence for possession of a Class B controlled drug will run concurrently.

• Maggie Hutton, aged 51, appearing before court on 26 January, was sentenced to 15 months, suspended for three years, for being concerned in the supply of a Class A controlled drug.

• Simon Mooney, aged 45, appearing before court on 26 January, was sentenced to 15 months suspended for three years, for being concerned in the supply of a Class A controlled drug. A sentence for possession of a Class A controlled drug will run concurrently.

• Jonathan Watson, aged 37, appearing before court on 26 January, was sentenced to 15 months, suspended for three years, for being concerned in the supply of a Class A controlled drug.

• Darren Flynn, aged 42, appearing before court on 2 February, was sentenced to 15 months, suspended for three years, for being concerned in the supply of a Class A controlled drug and possession of a Class B controlled drug.

• Neil Findlay, aged 53, appearing before court on 2 February, was sentenced to 15 months, suspended for three years, for being concerned in the supply of a Class A controlled drug.

• Richard Close, aged 53, appearing before court on 2 February, was sentenced to 15 months, suspended for three years, for being concerned in the supply of a Class A controlled drug.

• Samuel Taylor, aged 39, appearing before court on 2 February, was sentenced to 12 months, suspended for three years, for offences relating to misconduct in public office.

• Andrew Crawford, aged 32¸ appearing before court on 16 February, was sentenced to 15 months, suspended for 2 years, for being concerned in the supply of a Class A controlled drug and possession of criminal property.

• Taylor Gray, aged 28, appearing before court on 16 February, was sentenced to 15 months, suspended for 2 years, for offences including being concerned in the supply of a Class A controlled drug.

In addition, Serious Crime Prevention Orders were granted in relation to Mark Rainey, Glenn Rainey and Daniel Baine. They will take effect from the dates of their release from prison and will remain in force for a period of five years.


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