Drugs worth €122,000 seized in operation by North’s paramilitary taskforce

Man (21) arrested amid inquiry into suspected criminality linked to East Belfast UVF

Drugs worth an estimated £104,000 were seized in an operation by the North’s Paramilitary Crime Task Force. File photograph: PA Wire/PA Images

Drugs worth an estimated £104,000 were seized in an operation by the North’s Paramilitary Crime Task Force. File photograph: PA Wire/PA Images

 

A man has been arrested and drugs worth an estimated £104,000 (about €122,000) seized following an operation by the North’s Paramilitary Crime Task Force in Belfast on Saturday.

As part of an investigation into suspected drug criminality linked to the East Belfast UVF, officers from the taskforce carried out a search of a vehicle in the east Belfast area on Saturday.

Suspected herbal cannabis with an estimated street value of £100,000 was seized amid the search, and a subsequent search of a nearby residential property uncovered cocaine with an estimated street value of £4,000, as well as other items suspected to be criminal property.

A 21-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possession of a class A controlled drug, possession of a class A controlled drug with intent to supply, possession of a class B controlled drug, possession of a class B controlled drug with intent to supply and possession of criminal property. He remained in custody on Saturday evening.

In a statement issued by the PSNI on Saturday, Det Insp O’Neill said: “Paramilitary groupings rely on the income they make from their involvement in the supply of controlled drugs to fund their wider criminality. PCTF [Paramilitary Crime Task Force] will target all levels of people involved in this criminality, including those that act as large-scale facilitators or those who sell drugs on their behalf. Where we recover assets associated to that criminality they will be seized.

“By targeting drug-related activity, not only do we remove illegal drugs from the street, which in themselves cause harm through addiction, debt and their effects on physical and mental health, we also remove funds from the pockets of paramilitaries and therefore loosen their control on the communities who ultimately want to see them gone.”