A police operation involving Mid & East Antrim district response officers, Operational Support Department and detectives from Organised Crime Branch has resulted in the seizure of a suspected military-style assault weapon and over £50,000 worth of suspected drugs. Two men have been arrested.
District Commander for Mid & East Antrim, Superintendent Gillian Kearney said: “Local officers stopped a vehicle in the North Road area of Carrickfergus on Friday, 5th May when they saw what they believed to be suspicious activity.
“A small quantity of suspected Class B controlled drugs were located on a 33-year-old man and searches were subsequently carried out at a nearby property.
“A number of items were seized, including a suspected assault weapon, magazine and ammunition, a large quantity of suspected Class A controlled drugs, a further amount of suspected Class B controlled drugs and drug-related paraphernalia.
“Additional searches were conducted at a second property in Carrickfergus and a property in central Belfast.
“During these searches, a number of items were seized including a quantity of suspected Class B and Class C controlled drugs and drug-related paraphernalia.
“The 33-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of multiple offences including possessing a firearm and ammunition in suspicious circumstances, possessing prohibited weapons and possession of Class A and Class B drugs with intent to supply.
“A second man, aged 44, has been arrested on suspicion of multiple offences including possessing a firearm and ammunition in suspicious circumstances, possessing prohibited weapons and possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply.
“Both remain in police custody at this time, assisting officers with their enquiries.”
Detective Inspector McCamley of Organised Crime Branch said: “Yesterday’s operation is part of an investigation into the activity of a criminal gang and the activities of those who we suspect have been engaged in organised crime throughout Northern Ireland.
“The suspected firearm is a highly significant find. We are investigating how the weapon was obtained, and how the suspects intended to use it.
“This could have been used to threaten, intimidate and ultimately kill, and the removal of this weapon along with a large amount of drugs intended for our streets, has made our community safer.
“The people who are involved in this type of dangerous and life-threatening criminality put entire communities at risk. The Police Service of Northern Ireland will continue to work with communities across Northern Ireland to relentlessly tackle the scourge of criminals who use the threat of violence in an attempt to coercively take control of people’s lives. Together we can tackle this.
“I know that communities want to live in peace without the threat of being innocently caught up in the activities of violent criminals. I would encourage anyone with information that could assist in our efforts to contact us on the non-emergency number 101.
You can also make a report to police online via www.psni.police.uk/makeareport or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org