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Cash, cars and Rolexes seized from alleged drug gang in huge police bust

By Deborah McAleese

Published 15/07/2016

Bundles of cash seized by police during raids in Armagh this week
Bundles of cash seized by police during raids in Armagh this week

Rolex watches, expensive cars and £170,000 in cash have been recovered by police following a raid on an alleged major drugs gang.

Four suspected gang members were arrested during planned police stings across Armagh on Wednesday.

Their assets, believed to be the proceeds of a lucrative drugs enterprise, were also seized by officers.

The suspects were remanded in police custody for questioning on suspicion of money laundering and drugs offences.

Police said they believed the proactive operation had dealt a "serious blow" to the activities of a "high-level organised crime gang involved in the supply of illegal drugs and other serious criminality".

The group had been under surveillance for some time, before detectives from the PSNI's Reactive and Organised Crime Branch decided to swoop on the gang on Wednesday.

During a number of searches, they uncovered several large bundles of sterling and euros, as well as a quantity of luxury jewellery.

The first suspect, a 38-year-old man, was arrested after officers forcibly stopped a Transit van on the Killylea Road in Armagh at around 3pm.

Detective Inspector Tom McClure said that a package containing approximately £10,000 in cash was discovered inside the van. During a subsequent search at a property on the Salters Grange Road, Armagh police seized a Mercedes S63 AMG car, a BMW X5 Jeep and a quantity of documentation.

A second suspect, a 31-year-old man, was arrested at a filling station on Cathedral Road in Armagh at around 4.30pm.

A follow-up search at an address in Callan Crescent uncovered a significant sum of cash, estimated to be in the region of £160,000, hidden in the living room.

Four extremely high-end designer watches were also seized, along with a Taser-type stun gun. Police believe the cash and jewellery to be the proceeds of crime.

A man aged 58 and a woman aged 56, who were at the Callan Crescent property during the police sting, were also arrested.

All four suspects remained in custody yesterday for questioning in relation to supplying drugs and possessing, concealing and converting criminal property.

"We believe this operation has struck a major blow to the activities of an organised gang involved in serious drugs criminality in Northern Ireland," explained Detective Inspector McClure.

He said that police were committed to making Northern Ireland a hostile environment for all those involved in drugs supply.

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