A 35-year-old man was sentenced today, 30 June, at Belfast Crown Court for drugs-related offences and possessing criminal property.

This follows a Paramilitary Crime Task Force (PCTF) investigation into suspected drugs criminality linked to the East Belfast UVF.

Gareth Cullen was sentenced to three years and four months – half to be served in custody and half on licence.

Detective Sergeant Thompson said: “Officers carried out a search of a property in north Belfast in May 2021.

“A number of items were seized including cannabis and cocaine – the latter with an estimated value of approximately £2,000; along with a sum of cash.  A number of mobile phones were seized, and the subsequent examination revealed an exchange of messages involving the supply of drugs. 

“Further financial investigations into his bank account showed approximately £100,000 of incoming third party payments during a two and a half year period.

“Today, Cullen was handed a sentence, half of which – that’s 20 months – will be spent in prison.”

Detective Sergeant Thompson continued: “Working with our partners in the Paramilitary Crime Task Force, we will continue to disrupt the activities of those who make their living from crime.  They don’t care about the effects of illegal drugs. They don’t care about lives ruined along the way, and the impact on loved ones and communities.

“I’m keen to thank communities for their continued support, and would encourage anyone with information to contact us on 101.”

Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org

The Paramilitary Crime Task Force is a multi-agency task force set up in Northern Ireland to protect communities by tackling all forms of criminality linked to paramilitarism.  It consists of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the National Crime Agency and HM Revenue & Customs.