Six held over Loyalist paramilitary organisation’s criminal activities

It follows a major swoop by the PSNI last week during which 11 arrests were made

Six people were arrested at locations across Northern Ireland on Friday. A quantity of drugs was also seized in the operation led by the PSNI’s paramilitary crime task force. Photograph: Trevor McBride

Six people were arrested at locations across Northern Ireland on Friday. A quantity of drugs was also seized in the operation led by the PSNI’s paramilitary crime task force. Photograph: Trevor McBride

 

Six people have been charged following an operation targeting the criminal activities of a loyalist paramilitary organisation in Northern Ireland.

A 46-year-old woman, along with five men aged between 24 and 40 years, were arrested at locations across north Belfast, east Belfast, Newtownards and Newtownabbey on Friday.

They were being questioned by detectives in Belfast on suspicion of supplying class A drugs.

A quantity of drugs was also seized in the operation led by the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s paramilitary crime task force.

All six are due to appear at Belfast Magistrates’ Court on April 18th.

Chief Supt Jonathan Roberts said the operation was aimed at targeting criminal activities, particularly drug dealing, connected to the East Belfast Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

It follows a major police swoop last week during which 11 arrests were made following raids of 14 properties in Belfast, Newtownards and Comber, which was also focused on the criminal activists of the east Belfast UVF.

‘Cause misery’

“The supply of drugs in our community does nothing but cause harm, cause misery and put people in fear,” he said.

“Those that engage in this type of activity can expect to be investigated, they can expect to be arrested, they can expect to be interviewed and every effort will be made to put them before the courts so they can face justice.

“The community has spoken loud and clear that they don’t tolerate this type of activity, they won’t tolerate this type of activity and these actions come in part as a result of the support we have received from local communities.”

He added that following last week’s arrests, 10 people had been charged with offences.

Murder

Outrage was expressed in east Belfast in January following the murder of community worker Ian Ogle.

Chief Supt Roberts said there had been ongoing “good co-operation” between the people of east Belfast and police.

“I think the murder of Mr Ogle has shown east Belfast UVF to be exactly what they are, which is a bunch of thugs and they have absolutely nothing to offer – and their chief activity is drug dealing, inflicting harm and inflicting misery on the community.” – PA