£8m of illegal drugs seized
An estimated £8 million worth of drugs have been seized this month in joint operations led by the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) Organised Crime Unit
It included the seizure of £6 million worth of Class A cocaine at the Port of Holyhead in Wales believed to be destined for Northern Ireland.
Detective Chief Superintendent John McVea, head of the PSNI’s Criminal Investigations Branch, said it was “one of the largest seizures in recent times”.
Seven people have been charged as part of the joint operations with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Border Force.
The PSNI said “significant seizures” of cannabis and prescription drugs had also been made during five separate operations.
Det Chief Supt McVea said: “At the weekend, we removed £6 million worth of Class A cocaine which I believe was destined for Northern Ireland. Working with our law enforcement partners in the NCA and Border Force, we stopped a lorry in the Port of Holyhead in Wales where cocaine was found concealed within refrigerated goods.
“This seizure is one of the largest in recent times and would have caused significant harm to people living in our communities.”
A 51-year-old man was charged by the NCA with exporting Class A drugs and appeared in court in Wales yesterday (October 12).
Det Chief Supt McVea added: “Last Thursday, as part of a planned operation, we discovered and dismantled a drugs factory in the Cookstown area where detectives seized approximately £600,000 of suspected cocaine, £4,000 of suspected cannabis, £10,000 in cash and a high value car. I believe it was linked to an organised crime gang, which operates on an international scale. Three men were charged with a number of drug-related offences and possessing criminal property and have appeared in court.
“Approximately £1 million of suspected cannabis, which had been strapped on to the roof of a large horse box-type vehicle, was recovered after the lorry shed its load on the M1 on Saturday, October 3. A man was charged and has appeared in court charged with possession of Class B drugs and intent to supply.”
Detectives from the Paramilitary Crime Task Force have also charged two men with drugs-related offences following the seizure of £90,000 worth of suspected cannabis in December 2019.
“We have had significant successes in October already and we will continue in our relentless pursuit of removing not only these dangerous drugs from society but also those involved in the supply,” said Det Chief Supt McVea.
“People who bring drugs into our communities do not care about the pain and misery they cause, instead they only care about the significant profits they can make.”