A ‘significant haul’ of herbal cannabis with an estimated street value of just under £1million has been seized in Belfast.
Four men have been arrested following the operation yesterday (Wednesday, January 9).
The men aged 38, 29, 29 and 19 were arrested on suspicion of a number of offences in relation to the supply of the haul of 50kg of drugs. Police believe the organised crime gang is Triad linked.
The men are currently in police custody.
Two men were arrested in a property on the Shore Road area on suspicion of the importation and supply of these drugs.
A further two men were arrested in a vehicle on the M2 on suspicion of supply of these drugs and a number of immigration offences.
“This is another significant haul of drugs, which is linked to our previous successes against a South East Asian Organised Crime Gang operating in Northern Ireland,” said Detective Superintendent Bobby Singleton.
“Yesterday detectives from PSNI’s Organised Crime Unit, assisted by their colleagues across PSNI, searched two properties in the Shore Road area of North Belfast and the Springfield Road area of West Belfast. Two vehicles were also stopped on the M2 heading north bound, near the Moneynick junction,” he said
“Whilst there will continue to be debate within society on the legalisation of cannabis it remains a controlled drug and is illegal to possess,” he said.
The Detective Superintendent said organised crime gangs make huge amounts of money from its illegal trade.
“Some people think that buying and using cannabis is harmless – that’s simply not the case. Use of cannabis itself can damage your physical and mental health. Cannabis remains the most used drug by persons in treatment in Northern Ireland for drug addiction.
“The money people spend on it promotes and encourages the growth of these gangs who not only use violence and intimidation to maintain their control in our communities but are also involved in other organised crime like human trafficking,” he added.
And police have vowed to continue to investigate those who profit from the misery and harm caused by illegal drugs.
“Drug dealers are parasites who don’t care about their communities and profit from the misery and harm caused by illegal drugs. I would appeal to the public to contact police if they have any concerns or information regarding drugs in their area by calling 101,” he added.
Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.