Detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Organised Crime Branch have last night, February 6, and today carried out further house searches as part of an ongoing investigation into an Organised Crime Group.
Last night detectives returned to the Garvaghy Road area of Portadown and conducted a further house search where they uncovered a small cannabis factory, with an estimated street value of £32,000.
A 31-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of cultivating cannabis, possession of a Class B drug, possession of a Class B drug with intent to supply, possession of a prohibited weapon, namely pepper spray, and abstracting electricity. He is currently being questioned by detectives.
In addition, following a house search in Banbridge today, a number of mobile phones were seized by police.
Detective Chief Inspector Richard Thornton, from the Organised Crime Branch, said: “The further searches and seizures, and last night’s arrest, follow on from our significant operation yesterday when we conducted six searches in the Garvaghy Road area as part of an ongoing investigation into an organised crime group, which is involved in serious and organised crime including the supply of drugs and firearms.
“We have now carried out a total of 29 searches and made nine arrests since this investigation began in October 2022.
“Yesterday officers recovered nine suspected firearms, which will now be subject to investigation, several Samurai swords, approximately £6,000 in cash, quantities of Class A and B controlled drugs, along with related paraphernalia. One man, aged in his twenties, who was arrested on suspicion of drugs and firearms-related offences, has been released on bail to allow for further enquiries.
“Previously we have seized two knuckle-dusters, two machetes, a quantity of herbal cannabis and over half a kilo of cocaine. We have also seized and confiscated a vehicle, and over £15,000 as suspected proceeds of crime.
“This is a robust investigation into a serious and organised crime group who are involved in the most serious of criminality.
“This group is responsible for bringing firearms and illicit drugs into the country, particularly the greater Craigavon area, putting local people at risk. Illegal guns are smuggled in for one purpose only, and that is to cause injury and death.
“Drugs are equally dangerous as they ruin lives and damage our communities. Yesterday officers found a quantity of suspected Class A drugs lying on the street where any child could have picked it up. They do not care who gets hurt or harmed as these criminals line their own pockets and live lavish lifestyles at the expense of others, leaving families and loved ones to deal with the inevitable devastation.
“This Organised Crime Group’s criminality stretches beyond the borders of Northern Ireland and we will continue to work alongside key law enforcement partners in Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and further afield to carry out operations in order to break the cycle of those who cause harm through the illegal importation and supply of drugs and firearms.
“Anyone with information should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”