Detectives from the PSNI’s Reactive and Organised Crime Branch have conducted 20 searches across Northern Ireland over the past two days in connection with a major investigation into organised crime, including the supply of drugs and money laundering.
More than 400 police officers were involved in the operation which took place on 20 and 21 June in Londonderry, Strabane, Belfast, Glenavy, Aughgnacloy and Dungannon and five men were arrested.
A number of items were seized including suspected Class A and B controlled drugs, approximately £200,000 of high value luxury items, including various makes of watches (Rolex, Tag Heuer and Bvlgari), a large diamond and other jewellery, over £9,000 of cash, luxury motor vehicles, an electro-shock device and a large quantity of financial documents, as well as credit cards, mobile phones and computers.
Detective Chief Superintendent Tim Mairs, Head of the PSNI’s Reactive and Organised Crime Branch, said: “This was an extensive search and arrest operation into the suspected supply of large quantities of Class A and B controlled drugs namely cocaine and herbal cannabis into and throughout Northern Ireland. It also focussed on suspected large scale money laundering. The operation, which involved working closely with our colleagues in An Garda Siochana, demonstrates PSNI’s commitment to tackling those involved in organised crime and drugs supply in Northern Ireland.
“Police will continue to take robust action against those believed to be involved in organised criminal activity, particularly those involved in the supply of drugs, as well as street level drug dealers. Drugs are a concern for communities and this operation demonstrates our commitment to deal with the issue. I would encourage communities to work with the police in investigating and bringing people before the courts.
“This operation demonstrates that that PSNI is effective in removing drugs from our streets and also arresting those believed to be involved in the supply trade who have no regard for the people in their own communities, but instead are fuelled by a desire to make money from others’ addictions.
During the two day operation detectives conducted the following searches:
On Tuesday, June 20, there were 10 in L/Derry, 2 in Armagh, 1 in Belfast, 1 in Glenavy, 1 in Aughnacloy and 1 in Dungannon. A total of five people were arrested. Those in L/Derry include a 47 year old man on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs and money laundering, a 35 year old woman on suspicion of money laundering, a 41 year old man on suspicion of money laundering and mortgage fraud; and a 29 year old man on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs.
In Dungannon a 36 year old man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class B controlled drugs and money laundering. He has now been charged with these offences. In Belfast a 35 year old man was arrested on suspicion of money laundering.
Today (June 21) 4 searches took place - 3 in L/Derry and 1 in Strabane.
Chief Superintendent Mairs added: “I would like to take this opportunity to re-inforce the dangers posed by taking any illegal drug or any medication which is not prescribed for you. Misuse of drugs can affect anyone and we recognise that many vulnerable people are being exploited for the financial gain of those higher up the supply chain.
“Information from the community is vital and I would urge anyone who knows anything about the supply of drugs to contact police on 101.”