Five arrested and £1m of cocaine seized in investigation into NI crime group
Five people have been arrested and cocaine worth £1 million seized as part a “highly significant” investigation into suspected Northern Ireland crime group.
Officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) detained three men in Essex and two in North Wales on Thursday (September 10).
Three HGVs were also seized and detailed searches by specialist Border Force officers uncovered a “complex concealment” in one of the lorries that contained around 21kg of cocaine.
Officers also carried out searches at a number of properties in Northern Ireland.
The five men are suspected of being involved in the importation of Class A drugs from the continent. The NCA said four of those arrested are known to be based in Northern Ireland; the other man is from the north of England. They are all aged between 21 and 59.
They have since been released on bail after being questioned by NCA officers.
The investigation was supported by An Garda Síochána and the Organised Crime Task Force, and NCA regional head of investigations, Gerry McLean, said: “This is a highly significant operation in terms of our activity to target organised crime impacting on Northern Ireland.
“In making these seizures we have both prevented a large quantity of drugs from reaching our streets, and denied criminals an important avenue for smuggling.
“I’d like to thank colleagues from the PSNI, Garda and Border Force, without whom we wouldn’t have been able to achieve the results we have so far. Our investigations will continue.”
Detective Superintendent Rachel Shields, from the PSNI’s Criminal Investigation Branch said: “Our detectives have been working in collaboration with the NCA in relation to this operation for some time.
“These arrests and seizure are significant in terms of the quantity seized, and in terms of the disruption caused to organised criminals.
“We will continue to work closely with, and support the NCA in their work to disrupt the nefarious activities of organised crime groups.”