On the run drug dealer remanded in custody

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A convicted Coleraine drug dealer who was on the run for more than a year has been remanded in custody after being arrested in Spain on a European Arrest Warrant.

Mark Dunford, 41, appeared in court in Ballymena following his arrest in Spain on June 25.

During a brief hearing on Wednesday, Deputy District judge Laura Levers remanded him in custody to appear before the sentencing judge in a Crown Court on July 27.

Bearded Dunford, wearing a red jacket, blue checked shirt and jeans, replied: “Aye, no bother.”

A detective sergeant earlier confirmed the defendant had been detained under the terms of a European Arrest Warrant.

A solicitor for the drug dealer said he had no questions for the officer. He applied for legal aid for his client.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland’s efforts to trace Dunford were assisted by the National Crime Agency and Spanish police.

Dunford, originally from Waterford but with an address at Ballylagan Lane, Coleraine, had admitted supplying amphetamines but failed to appear in court for his sentencing in February last year.

Dunford was due to be sentenced for his part in illegal drugs supply in Coleraine and Ballymena after police officers seized almost £900,000 worth of drugs in September 2012.

The officer leading the investigation, Detective Inspector Tom McClure, from Reactive and Organised Crime Branch, said: “Mark Dunford was arrested in Spain on Saturday 25th June as a result of our continued enquiries and assistance from colleagues in the National Crime Agency and Spanish police.

“He will appear at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning and a date for his sentencing at Crown Court will be set”.