Six arrested following investigation into NI drugs and money laundering
Six people suspected of using a haulage company to provide “logistics for organised crime groups involved in drug supply” have been arrested following a joint operation by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
The NCA said the “suspected crime group” had links to Northern Ireland. Four men, a woman and a 17-year-old male were arrested for importation of drugs and money laundering.
The NCA investigation, which was supported by Border Force, An Garda Siochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland, centred on a Northern Ireland-based haulage company believed to be moving Class A and B drugs from the continent into the UK, with cash going in the opposite direction.
A 44-year-old man living in Nottinghamshire but originally from Newry handed himself in at a police station in Nottingham on Wednesday (June 9), where he was arrested and questioned over offences including drug importation, drug supply and money laundering.
A 58-year-old man from Birmingham also handed himself in to the NCA in Nottingham and was arrested on suspicion of money laundering offences.
At the same time a man from Tamworth, aged 53, was arrested on suspicion of money laundering at a location in Essex.
And a man and woman, aged 51 and 21, were arrested on suspicion of supplying Class B drugs at their home address in Peckham, London. A small quantity of Class B and C drugs were recovered from the location. A 17-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply.
NCA Belfast Branch Commander David Cunningham said: “Our investigation has identified a number of importations of drugs by hauliers with links to Northern Ireland.
“We suspect the hauliers involved were providing logistics for organised crime groups involved in drug supply, both in the UK and Ireland.
“The drugs trade fuels violence and exploitation in our communities, and today’s arrests are yet another example of the NCA and its partners working together to protect the public.”
Mr Cunningham said the investigation was ongoing.
Seizures so far as part of the investigation include 32kg of cannabis found by Border Force in a lorry that was about to board a ferry from Holyhead to Ireland in November 2018.
In another, around 32kg of cocaine and 50kg of heroin were recovered from a purpose-built hide in a trailer at Harwich port in April 2019. Around £1 million cash has also been seized during the course of the investigation, said the NCA.